Friday, August 07, 2009

23,400 teenagers did not lose their jobs

According to the NZ Herald;

The latest household labour force survey, published yesterday, confirms young people are bearing the brunt of the downturn, with a net 23,400 teenagers losing their jobs in the past year.

This claim is spurious. But it makes for good copy. Unfortunately thousands of people will read it and believe it.

How does it come about.

First of all the government, through Statistics New Zealand, conducts what they call a Household Labour force Survey every three months. There are 16,000 households on it at any given time but it is a changing group as new participants are rostered on and old rostered off. Each participant spends 2 years in the survey (I have been a participant).The information is gathered and extrapolated across the population.

The tables produced breakdown the employment data gleaned in various ways.

In June 2008 146,900 15-19 year-olds were employed. In June 2009 the number had dropped to 123,500. The difference is 23,400.

At June 2008 the majority of employed teenagers would have been 19. By June 2009 they would no longer be teenagers. They didn't lose their jobs. They stopped being teenagers.

Yes, there are certainly more unemployed teenagers than there were a year ago - 9,800 according to the survey because employers are not taking on young people to the degree that they had been.

Two-thirds of the 18,200 lost jobs in the past year were in retailing and wholesaling, with the next biggest losses in farming, forestry and fishing, transport, storage and communications, and manufacturing.

Now the 'lost jobs' are less than the numbers who apparently 'losing their jobs'.

But wait...

A massive 43,000 people under 50 lost their jobs, but there was a net gain of 24,400 jobs for people aged 50-plus.

Again, 43,000 people under 50 did not lose their jobs. We don't know how many people lost their jobs. If there is a 'net' gain to older age groups there is a strong possibility some of the difference is due to people ageing and holding their jobs.

In June 2008 there were 2,189,000 people employed - in June 2009 there were 2,169,000. Therefore there were 20,000 fewer employed people - based on a household survey. That's all that can be said with absolute certainty.

If Paula Bennett is releasing benefit data today, that will tell us more about how many people 'lost their jobs'. But that information is still not definitive given many people losing jobs are not entitled to a benefit.


Lucy said...

Unfortunately those who read the papers will believe it.

The msm don't do any critical analysis of the information they recive, that would require effort and well.....

muz said...

Thankyou for your sensible, rational and reasonable analysis of this information that is so easily read and absorbed. Now how do we get these little pearls of wisdom to those who need it. I dispair for our future when such a simple packet of information will be lost to the great unwashed because some twat who wrote the misleading headline for reasons of idleness or stupidity (I will not perpetrate my paranoia by suggesting a political motive) when they could have easily made the information more accurate with a little effort. Keep up the good work as I firmly believe the truth will out. I suppose I have that belief as I grew up in the shadow of the cold war and saw to my surprise the Berlin wall did fall and Regans great satan was overcome.