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Youth unemployment rise worries students

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Student leaders are reporting increasing concern amongst students of their graduate prospects as the unemployment rate rises to 6% and youth unemployment increases 1.7% to 15.33%.

National student president Rory McCourt says the issue was increasingly coming up as he spoke to groups of students and student leaders across the country.

"Students across the country have been telling us that they’re worried about their job prospects. From Lincoln students worried about the resiliency of the primary and secondary sectors to keep taking on highly specialized graduates through to Waiariki polytechnic students concerned about regional economies, our students are anxious about their job prospects."

For the largest cohort looking to graduate, 20 to 24 year olds, the unemployment rate is 11.8% for the September quarter, up from 10.5% twelve months ago, according to the Government's Household Labour Force Survey.

"These figures mean more graduates are joining the dole queue, and for most that’s a sad reward for racking up so much student debt."

Mr McCourt says the Government was premature to tout a fall in the NEET (not in employment, education or training) figures. They actually worsened amongst 20-24 year olds, rising from 15% to 15.1% of the working age population for the year to September, even as the average amongst all 15-24 year olds fell 0.5% down to 11.0%.

The NEET rate for that wider pool had jumped around between 11.0 and 11.3 per cent in five of the last eight quarters, so the current fall’s significance is questionable.

"Even if more 15-19 year olds are in training or education, our members say studying forever is not an option -especially with the Government cutting so much support to postgraduate students."

Mr McCourt says the Government must do more combat unemployment, and seriously consider reversing cuts to student support if unemployment amongst young people continued to rise. Since 2010 the Government cut the number of students eligible for allowances by 24%.

The data also confirms trends seen in the NZUSA Income and Expenditure Survey that more students are taking on paid work to make ends meet. In 2015, there were 67.9% 20-24 year olds in employment and education at the same time, up from 55.9% in 2012. This development has been concerning some academics, with many students skipping classes to make shifts in part-time and full-time jobs.

Youth Unemployment 15-24 year olds

September 2014 / 13.67%

December 2014 / 14.94%

March 2015 / 15.43%

June 2015 / 14.07%

September 2015 / 15.33%

Youth Unemployment 20-24 year olds

September 2014 / 10.5%

December 2014 / 11.0%

March 2015 / 11.8%

March 2015 / 10.6%

September 2015 / 11.8%

Youth Unemployment 15-19 year olds

September 2014 / 19.4%

December 2014 / 21.4%

March 2015 / 21.4%

June 2015 / 20.3%

September 2015 / 21.8%

Note: Data taken from Household Labour Force Survey

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