While TVNZ, the unofficial cheerleader for the National Government, heralded the so-called 'drop' in the unemployment figures as 'stunning', a closer look at the figures reveals an entirely different story altogether.

According to the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) , unemployment fell from more than 7 per cent to 6 per cent in the March quarter. The HLFS is based on a representative sample of just 15,000 households. The HLFS produces quarterly estimates of the number of people employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force, which are then adjusted to remove the impact of regular seasonal events such as Christmas.

But the true unemployment rate is much higher than the official rate.

A real count of real people reveals what most people know from their own everyday experience - people are doing it hard trying to find work

If you look at Statistics NZ's own figures, the unadjusted jobless figure has risen by over 38,000 to 263,000. The jobless figure is defined as people who are officially unemployed and people who are available for work and people who have simply given up looking for jobs.

Also of note is that the number of underemployed people remains at an alarmingly high level. These are people in part time jobs but who actually want and need full time work. Of the some 475,000 people working part time almost a 100,000 need fulltime jobs - jobs that the economy cannot provide.

If you remove the seasonal adjustment and just look at the actual number of people officially unemployed, there are still 25,000 more unemployed today than there was a year ago.

What is abundantly clear is that the Household Labour Force Survey results are divorced from reality and are simply being used as an ideological tool to mask the true unemployment figures. And they allow Paula Bennett to continue her neoliberal attack on the welfare state.

And just two days ago Statistics NZ released figures that showed that wage growth grew just 1.35 percent in the March quarter, the lowest wage growth in nine years.

This information didn't quite manage to find its way into the television news bulletins.


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