'Available to work' numbers are inflated - BusinessNZ

19 Oct 2016

'Available to work' numbers are inflated - BusinessNZ

Numbers of New Zealanders available for work are being incorrectly reported, says BusinessNZ.

The Salvation Army today claimed young unemployed New Zealanders are not getting employment opportunities because of unfair competition from migrant workers.

A Salvation Army report What Next - Addressing New Zealand's Youth Unemployment says 75,000 young unemployed New Zealanders would take work if it was available.

BusinessNZ says this number is incorrect, as official statistics show that job-seeker unavailability – rather than work unavailability – means the number of young New Zealanders available for work is far less than the 75,000 claimed.

MSD analysis of 70,000 unemployed New Zealanders in April 2016 showed that when corrected for unavailability factors, only around half that number could be regarded as actually available for work.

Unavailability factors included not being available for full-time work, not being available for work at weekends and not having a drivers licence.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope says it is wrong to inflate claims of numbers actually available to work, when employers in key sectors such as hospitality and aged care are crying out for staff and cannot find New Zealanders for available jobs.