Half of employed Kiwis are 'sitting at home' unable to work amid coronavirus lockdown

About half of New Zealanders who are employed are unable to go into work or work from home amid the coronavirus lockdown.

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Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said construction workers, hairdressers and other workers are unable to go in or work from home. Source: Breakfast

At the moment, about 29 per cent, or 727,000, of people can work from home in some way. Another 600,000 people are essential workers, making up about 1.3 million people still able to work in some capacity.

But that means about half of the working population - about 1.2 million people - have to sit at home.

The numbers are made up of industries including hairdressing, people in hospitality, tourism, as well as those in construction type work.

"I think it reflects just how important our sort of normal business operations are, but also I suspect this gives New Zealand a really great chance at some innovation," Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"Kiwis are a pretty onto it bunch and I suspect that that number might actually be higher than we're suggesting because people will be finding ways to continue operating where they can.

"But it does also mean there's a huge amount of people out there who are really going to struggle through this."

But Mr Olsen assured the Government's four-week lockdown was the right move and gives the economy the best chance to recover.

If the coronavirus situation got worse in New Zealand it would mean a longer recovery time, he said.

As of yesterday, there are currently 514 cases of the virus in New Zealand and one person has died.