Thursday, February 04, 2010

59,000 out of work under National

In last year's Budget, National promised to "take the sharp edges off the recession" and protect jobs. Today's Household Labour Force Survey figures show how successful they've been with that: unemployment has now reached 7.3%, its highest rate since June 1993. Maori unemployment, which had been on a downwards trajectory, is now at 15.4%. All up, there are 59,000 more people jobless than when National took office - and 25,000 more people who have been jobless for six months or more.

National's do nothing, leave the market to sort itself out ideology is squarely to blame for this. Faced with the worst recession in a decade, they responded not with stimulus spending, but accounting tricks, reallocating existing spending and grandly dressing it up as something "new". And even that was cut off too quickly. The results of that cynical policy could be seen a couple of weeks ago in Manukau, where thousands queued for a shitty supermarket job.

Meanwhile, economists are predicting a jobless "recovery". National's challenge is to stop that from happening, to get people back in work. All their promises of prosperity and growth are worthless unless that translates into jobs. And people will be judging them on how they deliver at the next election.