A couple of weeks back the latest Household Labour Force Survey was released. Amongst all the chat about rising unemployment, there was a set of figures that didn’t get a lot of air time.
Youth unemployment has jumped from 7% to 12% for 20-24 year olds. You can see what this is a reflection of – young people coming out of tertiary education and trade training are struggling to find work. Some are also losing work.
The New Zealand institute recently commented that “the Government’s response to limit the social costs of rising unemployment should identify the most vulnerable group and refocus spending to address the needs of those groups. The Institute recommends particular attention be applied to young people in disadvantaged communities. Youth unemployment generally rises faster and stays at a higher rate longer in a recession.”
Youth unemployment is just the kind of issue that the upcoming budget should address if we are to prevent youth unemployment reaching the level it did in the 1990s, and if we are to stop the loss of potential that comes with young people being out of work, training or education.
Tomorrow I am hosting a youth job summit to discuss and debate youth employment issues. Speakers include Peter Conway of the CTU, Phil O’Reilly of Business New Zealand, Benedikte Jensen of the New Zealand Institute and Jeremy Baker of the Industry Training Federation. But it won’t all be about listening. We’ll also be running sessions to give participants a chance to input ideas. After the summit I’ll be sharing these ideas with everyone who has a role to play in reducing youth unemployment.
This is not intended to be a political forum, and representatives from all of the political parties in parliament have been invited to attend. But you don’t have to give up your Sunday to be involved. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them here. Otherwise, I’ll do a follow up post with outcomes from the summit.