Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pessimism grows over employment prospects

The Westpac McDermott Miller employment confidence index fell eight points to 120.8 in the June quarter, reflecting the increasing realization among employees that the economic downturn will result in further job losses.

A number above 100 indicates there are more optimists than pessimists, while a number below 100 indicates that pessimists outnumber optimists. The index is thus still in positive territory, despite the loss of 29,000 jobs in the first quarter of this year (according to Statistics New Zealand figures).

My own employer, Fairfax Media, today announced that about 40 sub-editors (copy editors) are likely to be made redundant at the company's newspapers in New Zealand, as a result of a planned restructuring that will see "hubs" created in Wellington and Christchurch to handle the editing of the features, world and business pages for all the papers. Each paper will thus be left with a smaller staff to handle the editing of mainly local news.

I am a sub-editor at the Fairfax-owned Manawatu Standard in Palmerston North. But as I am now employed on a casual basis in the advertising features department, rather than in the editorial department, I don't yet know whether I will be affected. My boss thinks that, as we make a lot of money for the company, we may be left alone. The fact that I am my department's only sub-editor may also strengthen my position.

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