Thursday, February 02, 2017

Being a statistic

Twice this year the stats I frequently blog about have become personal.

First I had to make a call to CYF. I guess it will be logged as a report of concern. They were helpful.

Second, while the overall unemployment rate grew  by 0.3 percentage points between December 2015 and December 2016, a significant unemployment rise affected 15-24 year-olds: 10.9% in December 2015 to 13.6% in December 2016. Sitting in the group is my 22 year-old BA son.

It's not easy watching your kids (they are always kids to me) applying and applying and not even getting interviews. He's hardworking, self-disciplined, punctual, good-humoured, a reader and a thinker. And of course I would say all that. I am his mother. But I flinch when people stereotype his generation as lazy, unrealistic, illiterate and ill-prepared for the workforce.

No doubt, as Mr Micawber faithfully avowed, "Something will turn up."

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Unemployment creates a vicious circle

A reader sent me a US article about the best way to alleviate poverty in the US. Unsurprisingly it concludes that work is the best strategy. But I particularly appreciated this statement:

" is more than just a means of income generation. Work also provides adults and their families with a time structure, a source of status and identity, a means of participating in a collective purpose, and opportunity for social engagement outside family life.  A host of studies have connected joblessness to increased risk of family destabilization, suicide, alcohol abuse, and disease incidence, as well as reduced lifespan. Several large reviews of research conclude that unemployment not only reduces physical but also psychological well-being."

Although the paper does not make a direct connection, the graph below highlights this. Percentage-wise, people not working due to illness and disability has quadrupled since 1969.

Being unemployed makes people psychologically unwell. The same pattern has occurred in New Zealand. This problem is not going away. In fact it is worsening. The number of people who relay on welfare for the reasons of psychiatric or psychological incapacity - the primary reason for being on the Supported Living Payment - have risen from 51,000 to 55,000 since 2011.

Unemployment creates a vicious circle.It can ultimately make people unemployable.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The good and the bad

Yes my blog is supposed to be about welfare and related matters but the grind can get you down. To add to that the Wellington weather has been utterly abysmal. The lack of summer started as an interesting talking point but has become a real downer. My often-noisy, chaotic, creative daughter left home for Dunedin and the house is too quiet. So for some good news....

Readers may recall my exuberance over a horse I have taken a share in, winning his first start (3rd in his lifetime) at Alexandra Park back in late December.

Since then Everything has won three more times, and had a 4th and 5th placing. I went to watch him at Otaki on Sunday where he won the Otaki Cup.

The trainer, Nicky Chilcott, is riding (or should that be 'driving') on the crest of a wave. It's a thrill to be involved.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Children removed from home before they are one

Ten percent more infants were removed in the year to June 2016 than in the year to June 2011. These are babies who no other family member can be found to care for them. Very sad.