The Council of Trade Unions says the wage subsidy has done the job it was intended to do with the better than expected Labour Market statistics released today.
CTU Economist, Andrea Black, comments “Unemployment is now 4% of the labour force, compared with Treasury’s projection for this period of 8.3%, which is where it was at the beginning of the year. ‘Under-utilisation’, which is when people don’t get enough hours or facing barriers to getting into paid work but want it, is at 12% which has increased by 2 percentage points from the start of the year.
“Perhaps this can be attributed to employers in these industries cutting hours in response to the ‘softening’ of the economy rather than cutting jobs. Unions are telling us first hand that some employers are making people redundant – so it is possible that the next quarter will paint a different picture.”
“But although there is a rise in underutilisation – there are some positives in the statistics with an increase in Maori and Pasifika accessing more paid work specifically.”
“Wages generally are standing still since pre COVID-19. There are slight average hourly rate falls for those working in accommodation and food services and transport postal and warehousing. As we have always said, this shows the importance of the minimum wage in ensuring a floor for wages and living standards.”
“What the government needs to do now is to accelerate work on its active labour market policies to match working people who are job hunting with vacancies, creation of jobs in public services where there are currently gaps, and explore more innovative approaches such as extended Paid Parental Leave – to temporarily reduce labour supply,” Black said.