New Zealand Institute of Economic Research principal economist Shamubeel Eaqub said the youth jobless rate was expected to decline this year as the economy rallied.Now that's all true. But it was also true in prior recessions. And the youth unemployment rate, relative to the adult rate, is much worse than in prior recessions. Somehow, The Press article nowhere mentions the abolition of the youth minimum wage as potentially having affected folks in the younger cohort.
Young people were the first to suffer during tough economic times, and the high figure was "part and parcel" of the recession, Eaqub said.
Young workers had less skill and experience and were often in more vulnerable sectors, such as hospitality and retail.
"Often they're in the kinds of jobs where there is less job security, high turnover, lower wages and more part-time and casual hours," Eaqub said.
I'd incorporated the September quarter HLFS data in the simple little regression back when it was released in November, here. I'd then said
The adult unemployment rate this quarter was 5.1%. The youth (15-19 yr old) rate was 23.3%. The residual this quarter was 8.5: if the youth unemployment rate were performing about as it previously did in relation to the adult rate, the youth unemployment rate would be 8.5 percentage points lower. That's about 12,000 kids. If we take the previous highest residual as reflecting the normal effects of recession (2.6 in March of 94), the excess residual currently is 5.9 percentage points, or about 8,500 kids. Note that youth labour force participation has dropped while overall labour force participation is up; the numbers above understate things.Numbers are in the news again because the OECD says that our youth unemployment rate - for folks 15-24 - is 15th out of 36 countries. That doesn't sound bad, but as a multiple of the adult rate, it's rather bad. And the unemployment rate for the 15-19 year old group is worse than for the group that includes 20-24 year olds.
Abolition of the differential (lower) youth rate hit the younger cohort; the greater bindingness of the adult rate on the younger portions of the adult cohort hit the 20-24 year olds more than the older cohorts.
National's passing Sir Roger's bill wouldn't have prevented this: the bill only allowed that the youth and adult rates be different. It's hard to believe that National would then have made the further step to cut youth rates rather than let them erode over time. But Labour's introducing big nominal rigidities by forcing youths to be subject to the adult minimum wage, heading into a rather large recession, can't be counted as one of their better decisions.