Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Increased unemployment. Still no recovery.

A few months ago the government made a very great deal indeed about a fall in the unemployment figures, even though

a) they made them up, and
b) youth unemployment was still soaring, and
b) the real reason for the “drop” was that 7,198 people left an unemployment benefit in February to go on the student allowance.

The massaging of the figures was as transparent as the American trick of subtracting temporarily-hired census-workers from their unemployment numbers.  Nonetheless, the “dramatic drop” her department had engineered allowed Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to enthuse about a “recovery,” Alan Bollard to start raising interest rates, and Treasury to start pretending the NZ economy was going to grow at around three percent over the next year.

So what are they all saying now that the latest unemployment figures show unemployment is still rising (up 329 to 60,106)?  That total benefit numbers are rising even faster (up 1887 to 329,349, about one in every eight New Zealanders of working age)? Are they conceding their earlier errors?  Are they admitting that talk of a “recovery” is premature, if not pure fantasy? Are any of them admitting they were wrong?

No, of course not.  The spin this quarter is that we should all be happy that nearly 2000 more people are now on a benefit because this increase remains “below forecast.”

What a lot of cant.

Still, no-one’s using that word “recovery.”  And it’s been a long time since I’ve head anyone say “green shoots.”

Unless they’re laughing when they say it.

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