The usual cheerleaders for the free market and neoliberalism have been slightly disturbed by the sharp rise in the official unemployment rates. It has now risen by 0.8% to 7.3%, a ten year high.
The number of unemployed people in New Zealand rose by 18,000 on the previous September quarter to 168,000.
Also of significance is the increase in the number of people who simply cannot get enough work hours to make ends meet. Of the 496,900 people employed part-time in the June 2010 quarter, 20.6 percent (102,400) would prefer to work more hours. This compares with 21.1 percent in the March 2010 quarter and 22.2 percent in the June 2009 quarter.
For the mainstream media and the banks economists these new figures have, even for them, been chastening. After all these were the same plods who were hailing the drop from 7.1% to 6% in the last September quarter as a real sign that an economic recovery was underway.
TVNZ News, whose criticism of the Government's economic policies are muted at best, described the drop as 'stunning'. Just a short two months or so later they are describing the official unemployment figures as 'shocking'. Is it too much to ask TVNZ - or TV3 for that matter - to do some investigative work about the real state of economy rather than simply reacting to whatever figures get thrown up? Apparently it is.
The bourgeois economists , the people who get paid a lot of money for their 'expertise ', should also have the finger of derision pointed at them.
Like TVNZ, they were hailing the drop in the unemployment as evidence of an 'emerging' economic recovery.
One economist described it as a 'turning point' for the economy. I assume that when he said this he was saying the economy was turning upwards as opposed to the downwards direction that it is really taking.
Isn't it good to know that we have economists like ASB economist Chris Tennent-Brown who really knows what's going on in the economy? I mean, this must be why people like him keep appearing on our television screens to explain what the figures all mean - as opposed to, say, Krusty the Clown.
In May Tennent-Brown described the drop in the official unemployment from 7..1 percent to 6 percent this way : 'It's just a really good step in the right direction to see the labour market looking reasonably healthy compared to our expectations. "To summarise in one word: WOW! The New Zealand labour market has turned,"
The ASB sponsor TV3's 'marker report' on its six o'clock news show and Tennent Brown can often be seen fronting it.
TV1's business reporter Corin Dann would be feeling stupid right now if he wasn't such an unreconstructed neoliberal cretin. Just a few weeks ago he wrote on his blog: '.one can't help but sense that a proper recovery (similar to that in Australia) is just around the corner.'
It must be a very big corner. Perhaps we should just leave little Corin to follow his own particular road to nowhere.
The very week that TVNZ and the economists were going ga-ga over the so-called 'drop' in unemployment over 2000 people applied for just 100 minimum wage jobs at a new Bunnings Warehouse in Dunedin.
I asked at the time: 'Perhaps someone at TVNZ or TV3 would now like to explain why 2000 people lined up for 100 minimum wage jobs if there has indeed been such a 'stunning' drop in unemployment.'
Of course the free market cheerleaders are now having to hastily revise their rose-tinted views about the so-called 'economic recovery'.
But they won't go as far as to own up to the fact that there is no economic recovery, merely that the recovery will be 'slow' and 'tentative'.
A new excuse is to say that a rise in job numbers 'always lags behind any economic recovery' It sounds intelligient but, yes, its just more bullshit.
Basically the acolytes of neoliberalism are just saying 'gobblygook'.
The CTU are predictably demanding that the Government take 'action' on the unemployment crisis. although its difficult to take the CTU seriously since it has done its fair share to contribute to the crisis.
Not only has the union bureaucracy not resisted the growing job losses , it has actively cooperated with the Government as it has implemented its austerity measures. This is the same union bureaucracy that gave the Government's so-called 'Job Summit' an 'eight out of ten'.
Even as the crisis deepens, it is becoming clearer that the CTU is not prepared to fight the Government.
Despite big words about resisting the Government's new labour legislation it's clear that the CTU are simply hoping to pressure the Government into changes at Parliament's committee stage.
Seen any rolling strikes yet? No, neither have I.
The evidence is mounting that the CTU's only concern is to ensure that it doesn't have its own authority diminished.
As usual the General Melchett's of the CTU regard the rest of us as cannon fodder.