The NEET trap

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The September 2011 Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) shows the number of people aged 15-24 not in employment, education or training (NEET) in Canterbury is increasing.

This is against the national trend, where NEET numbers have been declining over several quarters.

The Household Labour Force Survey for December 2010 and 2011 reveals:

  • the number of 15-24 year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEET) in greater Christchurch has fallen by 8,700 or 9.5%;
  • the number of young people in employment has dropped by 12,300 or 22%;
  • the number not in the labour force is up 4,800 or 17%;
  • the number unemployed has fallen by 1,100 or 14%, but the unemployment rate has increased from 12.4% to 13.5%

In other words, the period has seen a fall in the youth population, increased disengagement from the labour market, and a sharp reduction in the number of young people in employment.

For those with few qualifications, there is a risk of long-term disengagement from the labour market.

Industries such as tourism and hospitality that have traditionally employed unskilled labour have been hit hard by the earthquakes and will take years to recover, while employers such as retailers how have tended to employ less-qualified people are looking to rationalise.

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