Government challenged to adequately measure unemployment – AAAP


Welfare group challenge coalition government to adequately measure unemployment

The official rate of unemployment has dropped again, but the measure for unemployment does not include those facing underemployment, insecure and precarious work.

“AAAP hopes that the Labour-NZ First coalition deal’s review of the measure of unemployment will lead to a significant expansion in the definition,” says Vanessa Cole, Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson.

“Official unemployment statistics should accurately reflect the realities of unemployment, under-employment and poverty.

“The official unemployment rate has dropped to 4.6 percent, but the underutilisation rate which measures underemployment remains 11.8 percent.

“The official unemployment rate currently ignores those who are underemployed, unavailable jobseekers and available jobseekers who have been worn-down from the realities of the labour market.

“The unemployed do not create unemployment. Unemployment is a necessary part of the capitalist economy because it allows bosses to drive down wages, offer insecure hours and worsen worker’s conditions.

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“Poverty will not be addressed through misrepresenting the truth of a labour market which does not provide people with liveable incomes.

“Using Work and Income to punish the unemployed and forcing beneficiaries into insecure work, work-for-dole programmes, or programmes to work short-term for minimum wage perpetuates the failures of the capitalist system.

“People are currently being forced to choose between harassment at Work and Income and poverty wages.

“If we want a policy which accurately reflects the workforce of the 21st Century, we need liveable incomes for the unemployed and employed.

“We challenge the coalition government to treat the unemployed with dignity, to increase benefit payments and to stop coercing beneficiaries into precarious work through sanctions.”