Jobless jump blamed on 'rapidly deteriorating labour market'

An economist is shocked by the massive jump in people on the Jobseeker benefit.

Numbers have risen 11.2 percent, increasing by almost 14,000 since June last year. Cameron Bagrie says its bad news.

"Those are pretty big numbers, and on the face of it they flag a pretty rapidly deteriorating labour market. What we saw in the March quarter... was that employment growth basically stalled."

He says it's not just the cooling global economy which is to blame.

"I think the New Zealand economy is in a slow-growth rut. We were slowed up partially because capacity has been a bit of an issue - we just can't find skilled workers."

The number recieving a main benefit has outpaced population growth, up 5.2 percent in the year to June, while population in the same time rose only 1.8 percent. 

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the demand for grants, which have nearly doubled since Labour and NZ First took power, was there before they formed the Government.

"We are making sure we live up to expectations of those who need support from the system, and that they get it if they are eligible for it."

Ministry of Social Development statistics show the proportion of working-age Kiwis on a main benefit is up from 9.4 percent last year to 9.7 percent. Unemployment is at 4.4 percent, up from 3.8 percent last year but below what it was when Labour and NZ First took over.

Cameron Bagrie expects slow economic growth into next year.



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