The Dim-Post

November 8, 2012

Turns out scorn is not a growth multiplier

Filed under: economics,policy — danylmc @ 11:19 am

The latest HLFS survey reveals a very high level of unemployment – higher than during the GFC in 2008. And it also reveals that the number of manufacturing jobs in the New Zealand economy declined again during the last quarter.

I find this slightly surprising. Sure, it seemed like manufacturing was in trouble: just about every week saw announcements of factory closures and job losses, and the opposition parties made a very big deal of this in the media and in the house.

But Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s reaction to this talk about a crisis in manufacturing was so dismissive, so withering, so contemptuous that I wondered if the opposition parties had over-reached. This was Joyce’s area, he has his vast new MoBIE Ministry to advise him of real-time conditions in the economy. He must know something the opposition parties didn’t.

Well, he didn’t. The manufacturing sector has lost a net 17,000 jobs this year. The opposition was right, and the Minister, for all his mocking, dripping scorn, was dead wrong.

It’s been a bad two days for the government and its claim to be a credible manager of the economy, which means it’s probably going to be a bad couple of weeks for beneficiaries, or whoever else they decide to get tough on as a smokescreen.

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42 Comments »

  1. I don’t believe a word Steven Joyce says unless it has been independently verified by a trusted source. The way he distorts/distorted the numbers on the Auckland CDB rail loop is a good measure of how untrustworthy he probably is on ever other thing he may happen to speak on. I could have just said “pathological bare-faced liar”…but wanted to be more specific.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — November 8, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  2. Fortunately, Prostetnic Vogon Joyce has a distinctive ‘tell’ when he is being economical with the truth.
    His mouth moves and words come out.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 8, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  3. The Hobbits will save us. Only 20 days to go.

    Next year’s plan: more Hobbits. Plus pokies at Sky City. And Hobbits.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — November 8, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  4. @sammy 2.0

    don’t forget the cycle trail. that sweet sweet cycle tourism money’s gonna start kicking in any time now…

    Comment by nommopilot — November 8, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  5. oooh. hobbits on bicycles. gold! someone call the minister of tourism!

    Comment by nommopilot — November 8, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  6. Joyce says it’s okay because http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1211/S00134/hlfs-underlines-world-economic-headwinds.htm … honestly trying to read that all I got was the Charlie-Brown-teacher-voice in my head.

    Comment by lyndon — November 8, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

  7. And Key plays the lalalalalalaa can’t hear you http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/7922808/Shock-rise-in-unemployment-to-7-3pc

    “Key said the data was ”unusual”.

    “In the end these things bounce around quite a bit… it’s at odds with what most of the economists thought would happen.”

    Asked whether the data was wrong, he said only it was at odds with other information around.

    “Like a lot of surveys, from time to time, it can produced usual data, let’s see what happens in the next one. But it’s not going to make the Government change tack.”

    Comment by max — November 8, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  8. “it’s at odds with what most of the economists thought would happen.”

    most of the economists we listen to, anyway. the ones that tell us what we want to hear. it’s not that we,re wrong, it’s just that reality is failing to occur in concordance with what economists think.

    #isthatjobstillopen?

    Comment by nommopilot — November 8, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  9. I have to say that I applaud National’s efforts to get people employed in the Canterbury region. It has been a raving success, with many people finding employment and only a minimum of people unfortunately still falling through the cracks in the system. They are now targeting solo mothers that are middle aged with kids out of school, and other older clients, putting them onto employment courses, courses in hospitality, etc, which is proving good for their self-confidence.

    Comment by Dan — November 8, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  10. http://img.scoop.co.nz/media/pdfs/1211/HouseholdLabourForceSurveySep12qtr.pdf

    While Canterbury seem, in the circumstances, to show an impressive lack of failure, I wouldn’t call it a raving success.

    Comment by lyndon — November 8, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

  11. I have to say that I applaud National’s efforts to get people employed in the Canterbury region. It has been a raving success…

    Assuming you are not being a dead-pan wit here Dan, as per this puff piece dated 01 November 2012, about 26 months after the September ’10 quake:

    “The Government has guaranteed 900 new jobs by next year to help with the Christchurch rebuild…It’s a mammoth task that the Government says it can’t do alone, and today it launched an incentive scheme to attract new workers to the city…Brownlee says they hope to have 900 people in the program by next year.”

    Spectacular.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 8, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  12. Dan: Jobs reconstructing Christchurch are manifestly not permanent jobs. When the rebuild is done the cry will go up that we should just keep on building stuff…..anywhere….because builders need jobs. It’s already happening in Auckland. The short-term vision required to be that dumb is breathtaking to behold.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — November 8, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

  13. Assuming you are not being a dead-pan wit here Dan
    I must admit that I really can’t tell with this Dan character – he completely frazzles my irony/deadpan radar…

    Also, I’m going to invent a Hobbit-themed pokie machine. Should add 20points to GDP by my calcs…

    Comment by garethw — November 8, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  14. From a statistical perspective, Canterbury probably isn’t faring too much better than the rest of the country, however they do have a lot of programs and courses in place. While the results on paper are not a raving success, the individual results have been great. People that would still be on the dole in other regions have found full time permanent jobs in Canterbury, thanks to regular meetings at Work & Income and courses designed specifically to find work.

    It has been amazing to watch the shy girl get a job in hospitality; the former stoner to get a job in manufacturing; the shy guys to get jobs at the airport, in hospitality again, and in construction; a middle-aged unemployed lady to get a perfect job, for her, as a supervisor at a supermarket; a former receptionist to be able to work again in the area she loves.

    Comment by Dan — November 8, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  15. OK, now it’s irony.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 8, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  16. It’s not irony, god damn it. It’s 2012.

    Comment by Dan — November 8, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  17. Dan does Raging bull.

    Comment by paritutu — November 8, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  18. Amazing.

    Comment by garethw — November 8, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  19. It has been amazing to watch the shy girl get a job in hospitality; the former stoner to get a job in manufacturing; the shy guys to get jobs at the airport . . .
    So what about those horrible Chch gingas that Barnsley Bill once despaired on these very pages of ever being able to teach to walk on their hind legs?

    Comment by Joe W — November 8, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  20. @ Joe W n- Barnsley now has those self-same horrible Chch gingas backpaddling in the Avon to aerate it; apparently it’s Brownlee’s new fish farm enterprise (relax, breath out, it’s privately owned, …. but fully state funded).

    Dan – I’m one of these shy guys, can you be a bud and hook us up with one of these fabulous sounding shy girls with new-found paycheck in hospitality? Admittedly, I don’t work at an airport, but I will fly in via one.

    Oh, but sorry to burst your bubble garethw – your hobbit pokie machine failed OSH regs. Who woulda thunk that having a hobbit inside peddling to keep the spinning wheel of pretty symbols whirring around would constitute an ERA breach? Better get Sir Peter onto fixing that law… On the plus side, your other pokie passed muster – pokies paying out in hobbits is not slavery; just make sure the hobbits in the prize rack have a banana to munch on.

    Comment by bob — November 9, 2012 @ 1:43 am

  21. Yes, sure thing Bob.

    Comment by Dan — November 9, 2012 @ 3:14 am

  22. a middle-aged unemployed lady to get a perfect job, for her, as a supervisor at a supermarket
    I know this woman!
    Unfortunately you left out the vital detail that she had to kill many of the 1200 other applicants waiting in line for the job, in order to achieve her dream of becoming a supervisor.

    Comment by Neil — November 9, 2012 @ 6:54 am

  23. An while we’re on anecdata, my sister in law and her husband in blenheim lost their jobs after being under-cut by christchurch people who lost their jobs after the earthquakes. they have moved to perth. christchurch is such a great success story in our family.

    Comment by Me Too — November 9, 2012 @ 10:58 am

  24. “hobbit pokie machine failed OSH regs. ”
    It would have got an exemption had the hobbit just come off a benefit.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 9, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  25. Wow, 1200 applicants for 200 positions? Amazing. I’ll be advertising a couple of positions soon, I hope I don’t get six applicants for each of those: how would I ever cope?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 9, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

  26. The nacts policies have only led nz to a path of disaster in every direction,they are not good managers of the economy,nor are they people orientated.
    Thanks to those who couldn’t get off their arse to vote,’that’s a fine mess,you got us into’

    Comment by anne — November 9, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  27. Thans for the tip Clunking; I’ll sack the hobbit under the 90-day fire at will law, then rehire him off the benefit. Plus, that’ll tweak the stats to show another hiring in the next HLFS stats. Stevie Joyce can buy the next round.

    On a serious note, re #25, 6 applicants for each low-skilled job is far worse than 6 applicants per job for a highly skilled position, as virtually everyone of those 1200 will have been capable of doing the job, whereas the 6 apps/job for a more skilled position are more likely to have a skill set that doesn’t quite fit the bill. You can work round that, but the applicants for unskilled jobs tend to match the required skill set better.

    There is also less option for those applicants who ARE unskilled – they are wasting their time applying for jobs as mechanics or doctors. Whereas a doctor or mechanic can downgrade to an unskilled job if they need subsistence paycheck just to survive in the interim.

    The latter reason is one reason why parliament should be looking very hard at migrant job trends (ie where migrants actually end up working each year). There are far too many ‘skilled migrants’ pumping gas, selling bread in dairies & supermarkets, or cheap booze in poor neighbourhoods for our immigration policies to be correctly set at the moment. Plenty – 175,000 actually – of Kiwis to do those unskilled jobs.

    Comment by bob — November 9, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

  28. Thanks to those who couldn’t get off their arse to vote,’that’s a fine mess,you got us into’

    That’s the spirit, Anne.
    Blaming the public rather than a shitty, supine Labour party that manifestly fails to distinguish itself from the chumps currently running the show.
    Sound’s like something out of the Curran Public Relations School.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 9, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  29. @28, I agree with you that labour are pretty much the same a national in definition these days,that is why nearly 1million voters didn’t vote.
    Venting is allowed in nz,but that could change under the current administration,who knows.
    I come from a long line of labour voters who are dismayed at the path labour are on,but faith
    leads us on, there is always hope.

    Comment by anne — November 9, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  30. You’ll need more than faith. You’ll need a purge.

    Comment by Gregor W — November 9, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  31. Some of you i..e most frequent posters here, need to get a life.

    Comment by Tim — November 9, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  32. Wim,

    And yet you, with a life so full, complete and interesting, still apparently feel a compulsion to frequently drop by here to offer unsolicited advice to complete strangers. See that guy in the mirror? He needs your help.

    Comment by Flashing Light — November 9, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  33. #30 – And Comrade Gregor wins the Uncle Joe Stalin Memorial Prize for Purging Capitalists Masquerading as Comrades (ie Labour). Another Kiwi punching above his weight ;) Actually, I’m just jealous Gregor – I wanted to purge Labour myself…

    And we’re in for more good news, now that former National party Chief of Staff Richard Long has been appointed to the Board of TVNZ. Nothing but good news, 24-7.

    Comment by bob — November 9, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  34. So we all agree the minimum wage must come down?

    Comment by swan — November 9, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

  35. Wim
    Ayn Rand called. She wants her book back.

    Comment by Dan — November 9, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  36. Wow, 1200 applicants for 200 positions? Amazing.

    Good to see you are so relaxed about high unemployment, CF. It puts you in with some good company.

    Comment by Neil — November 10, 2012 @ 6:39 am

  37. I’d point out that the 1200 people may even out nicely but most of those people would have applied even if there had only been five jobs available, and probably DID elsewhere, and 200 or more applications per job is slightly insane (sure, word may have been spread about the jobs to other out of work people, but the point is that there are THAT many people actively job hunting for very low skill, low pay jobs). And most of those jobs were just replacing the 169 people who were previously fired (some of whom re-applied, showing they couldn’t find work elsewhere while the place was being rebuilt!).

    Comment by Flynn — November 10, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

  38. People that worked in supermarkets that were damaged by the earthquakes, had the tendency to swear allegiance to that supermarket and find work elsewhere while the supermarket was being rebuilt. Just because they reapplied for their jobs doesn’t mean they didn’t work in the interim. In fact, other supermarkets in the area have taken up a lot of the flak. Plus, there have been a large number of supermarkets built in Canterbury but not in Christchurch that have further helped to alleviate this problem.

    Comment by Dan — November 10, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

  39. Prostetnic Vogon Joyce issues the following press release:

    “There’s no need to be concerned about the rubbish bags piling up. This issue will be dealt with as soon as possible. And New Zealanders will welcome a better work-life balance and improved power savings under the new three-day week.”

    Comment by deepred — November 10, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  40. I had a young lad from down country come and stay with us in AK. He was keen to work but didn’t know how to go about getting a job. I got out the yellow pages (the paper one) and called a few businesses after hours that he was keen to work for and left messages. nek minute, he had two replies and was working the next day and is still there 3 years on. The moral of the story, get of your arse and be proactive, there is plenty of work if you want it. queues are for losers.

    Comment by SPLOOGE — November 11, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  41. “Good to see you are so relaxed about high unemployment, CF. It puts you in with some good company.”
    Actually, Neil, I’m far from relaxed about it, I am “somewhat dismayed” by the increase, “somewhat dismayed” by the govt’s talking down of it and “somewhat dismayed” by the real-idea-free noise coming from opposition. I am also “somewhat dismayed” by the bene bashing going on in the middle of a global recession*. (*Technically, the world may not be in a recession, but we all know that once our govts’ have exhausted all sources of funding, then we’ll all be all Greece-y all over.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — November 11, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  42. What I think a lot of people do not realize is that there isn’t 175,000 jobs out there for people to take. So what’s the point of bashing beneficiaries, especially since the stalwarts have in the last quarter had another large unwanted number of people join them in their poverty, making it harder for all of them to get work.

    There is going to be around 140,000 jobs over the next four years, which leaves us with around 35,000, not an unfamiliar number of beneficiaries in ordinary times. However, there’s also going to be a lot more people leave school in the next four years as well.

    The issue of unemployment in New Zealand will therefore be very serious and long term. Not to mention the fact that it may still be a minimum of two years before we have a Government that understands they need to create jobs when the private sector won’t.

    Comment by Dan — November 11, 2012 @ 11:30 am


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