unemployment

Guest Post: MSD ups efforts to detect sole parent benefit abuse

Lindsay Mitchell has been doing some digging  and come up with some interesting information regarding benefits and who should and shouldn’t be on them.

She has given me permission to repost her information in the interests of giving her a wider audience.

I have found the following information enlightening…especially as it appear to show that over 10% are abusing their benefit.


 

We all know that there are plenty of people pulling a single parent benefit who have partners. Anecdotal evidence aside, there are two data sources pointing to this.

One is the Growing up in NZ study, which I wrote about here but it gets quite complicated.

The second is simpler. It’s revealed in a passage from Child Poverty in New Zealand, by Simon Chapple and Jonathon Boston:

“Work undertaken at the Department of Labour and based on matching Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) and administrative welfare records indicated, firstly, that in 2011 about 10 per cent of people whose welfare records showed that they were receiving an unemployment benefit reported to the HLFS that they were actually in full-time employment (i.e., working at least thirty hours a week), and hence were ineligible for the benefit; secondly, that more than one-third of people on an unemployment benefit self-reported as not actively seeking work – and one in five expressed no intention to seek work in the coming year; and, thirdly, that about 10 per cent of people whose welfare records showed that they were receiving a DPB reported being partnered or living as married.”

(After an MBIE refusal to release the paper to me, the matter currently sits with the Ombudsman).

Back in October I blogged about a trial mentioned in the MSD Annual Report.

Read more »

Hosking on expensive lazy economic sea anchors

Credit NZ Herald, via Newstalk ZB

Credit NZ Herald, via Newstalk ZB

We have a pretty low rate on unemployment in this country at a bit over five percent. We’re beating most countries and getting dangerously close to the three percent mark that most people recognise as being full employment. The three percent are those who have no skills or don’t want a job and have dropped out or live in bits of the country where the work has vanished.

One of the biggest frustrations I have had this year is the very obvious fact that there is work out there and employers are really struggling to get good people. Surely someone somewhere is joining the dots and realising that we need to get the people where the work is because in many cases the work isn’t coming to them.

Mike is onto it.  Work as to come to them.  They’re not willing to put themselves out in any way.   Read more »

How about that manufacturing crisis?

Remember the manufacturing crisis that the Labour party and assorted other opposition parties promulgated?

You know that the sector that was in total decay and was going to fail dooming us to a life of low wage servitude and indentured labour?

Yeah…that crisis…remember?

Manufacturers are flat out and are crying out for more workers, with a survey showing employment activity at record levels.

The latest BNZ- Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index showed the sector was expanding at its fastest pace this year in October.

The seasonally adjusted PMI for October was 59.3, up 0.8 on September. An index above 50 indicates the sector is growing and below 50 it is shrinking.

The PMI employment index hit 57.5 points in October, the highest level on record since the survey began in 2002.

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel said the labour market was getting stronger with annual employment growth of 3.2 per cent and the unemployment rate falling in the year to September.

“Today’s PMI results suggest more improvement is likely in the final quarter of 2014.”   Read more »

Meanwhile, back at the economy, jobs are up, unemployment down

Unemployment is down to 5.4 per cent in the September quarter, as rapidly rising job numbers more than keep up with the record migration boom.

Stoked ​by the building boom in Canterbury and Auckland, in the past year 72,000 more people have found new jobs, up 3.2 per cent.

In the September quarter jobs were up a healthy 0.8 per cent, a sign of solid economic growth.

Westpac Bank economists said the latest job figures were slightly stronger than markets expected. However, wage inflation remained low despite falling unemployment.

That added to the case for the Reserve Bank to keep official interest rates on hold till the second half of next year, Westpac said.

The building boom is responsible for almost half the big lift in jobs in the past year, with most of that concentrated in Canterbury and Auckland.

Statistics NZ figures out today also show subdued wage inflation, up just 1.6 per cent in the past year, with government workers getting even smaller increases.

More people in work eh?  That won’t improve child poverty statistics, will it?   Read more »

Guest Post – Douglas wrong about National

A guest post from Lindsay Mitchell.


Making some otherwise sound recommendations to his old party, Labour, Sir Roger Douglas made this statement:

 “National’s do-nothing, status-quo approach to economic and social policy provides Labour with a real opportunity to get back up on its feet.”

In the last six years National has done more to address working-age welfare dependence than Labour did in the prior nine.

A Labour supporter would reject my claim on the basis that numbers on the unemployment benefit took a nosedive over their incumbency. That’s true. Work and Income put enormous effort into those on an unemployment benefit, and Labour luckily oversaw an economic boom (giving them full credit for which is as questionable as blaming National for the GFC.)

But chronic welfare dependence, a crippling social and economic issue for New Zealand, lies in the other main benefits:  pre-reform they were the DPB  and Sickness/Invalid benefits combined.

In 2009, National set up the Welfare Working Group, and from there, commissioned the Taylor Fry actuarial work which exposed where long-term reliance is concentrated. The revelation that teen parents and other young beneficiaries entering the system at 16 or 17 would stay there the longest was no surprise.

Through the early 2000s, while only 2-3 percent of the DPB total at any given time was teenagers, between a third and a half of all recipients had begun on welfare aged under twenty. Throughout Labour’s administration I argued that average stays on welfare were much longer than government issued figures. Point-in-time data produces much longer averages than data collected over a period of time, but it suited Labour politically to use the latter data to minimise average stays and downplay dependence.

To understand this statistical phenomena imagine a hospital ward with 10 beds. Nine are occupied year around by chronically ill patients; one is occupied on a weekly basis. At any point-in-time 9 patients have an average stay of 12 months and one, an average stay of one week. But calculated over the year, 85 percent of total patients had an average stay of just 1 week. Equate this to spells on welfare and you can see how long-term dependence can be disguised.

Here is the huge difference between National and Labour.

National looked for what Labour had denied.   Read more »

Aussies unemployment rate soars, and boy are they jealous of NZ

The Aussie unemployment rate has soared and make a mockery of the attempts of the opposition here to paint New Zealand’s economy as a dog.

Unemployment has jumped to the highest level in more than 10 years, following a surprise fall in jobs growth.

The jobless rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.4 per cent from 6 per cent in June, its highest point since August 2002.

The economy lost 300 jobs in July: While 14,500 full-time positions were added, 14,800 part-time jobs disappeared.

The participation rate edged 0.1 per cent higher to 64.8 per cent, which does not explain the jump in the headline unemployment rate.

The Australian dollar plunged more than half a cent from around 93.55 US cents down to 92.96 US cents.

It is the first time since 2007 than Australia’s unemployment rate has been higher than the US, which sits at 6.2 per cent.

“There’s no question, this tells us the labour market is weak,” HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said.

Read more »

Oh dear. This won’t go down well in the War Room

The Household Labour Force Survey results are out:

werwe

More people are working and unemployment has fallen to 5.6 percent according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand. Read more »

Looks like Labour’s forestry crisis is over

cunliffe-wood

David Cunliffe averts another crisis, this time in Forestry

There will be other industries, like manufacturing and now forestry, that will be hoping that Labour declares a crisis in their industry. Because every time they do so things improve dramatically.

David Cunliffe and the former weatherman Tamati Coffey have been talking down forestry for a couple of months, saying it is in crisis and they are the ones who can fix it.

Seems like the industry is fixing itself without the need for interference from photo op seeking politicians.

Employment is on the rise in the region as one of Rotorua’s biggest industries enjoys what could be its best period in 20 years.

Rotorua’s booming forestry industry is experiencing its strongest growth since 1994, which is helping fuel a jump in regional employment, a local forestry leader says.

Bay of Plenty joblessness is down as national employment hits its highest rate since before the global financial crisis. Read more »

Now, don’t laugh, but I think I found a decent trained and skilled one at the Herald

Statistics-New-Zealand_2

Following up from my piece about the need to be be widely read to decipher what the “Truth” really is, I stumbled – incredulously – across this piece:

Brian Fallow at the Herald writes about the Household labour force survey and doesn’t just pick the side that makes one political party look good.   We get both sides

Employment grew strongly in the first three months of the year but so did the supply of workers, leaving unemployment unchanged and wage pressures subdued.

Statistics New Zealand’s household labour force survey recorded a rise of 22,000 or 0.9 per cent in the number of people employed in the March quarter, but that was matched by a 22,000 increase in the labour force, leaving the unemployment level unchanged at 147,000 and the unemployment rate steady at 6 per cent.

Over the year ended March the working age population increased by 50,000, boosted by a strong net inflow of migrants.

But the labour force grew by 82,000 over the same period as the participation rate (the employed and those looking for work, as a share of the working age population) climbed to 69.3 per cent – a record high and up from 67.9 per cent a year ago.

So.

More jobs to go around at the same time as more people joined looking for work.

No discernible spin.

As rare as it is amazing.

 

Welfare reforms in UK encouraging entrepreurial spirit

Good news out of the UK as welfare reforms appear to be working well.

Benefit cuts are pushing more people into self-employment and helping to create a new generation of entrepreneurs, the Bank of England has suggested

The Bank announced that one of the most “striking” features of the economic recovery has been the record 4.5 million Britons who are now self-employed.

According to official figures, the number of self-employed workers has risen by more than 600,000 since 2010, accounting for more than a third of the 1.5 million new jobs created since then.

The Bank said the trend was partly down to government welfare reforms, such as the £26,000 benefits cap, pushing people back into work. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, claimed that the figures were evidence that the Coalition was reviving Britain’s “entrepreneurial spirit”.

He told The Telegraph: “Every one of our welfare reforms has been about getting Britain working, so it’s encouraging to see the Bank of England explicitly linking our reforms with the strength of the UK labour market.    Read more »