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Brain Drain A Factor In Employment Figures

National's Finance spokesman Bill English says Employment Minister Steve Maharey's comments on unemployment show the Government is getting too smug about the economy.

"The Government should be less smug about the high prices for meat and milk driving the economy. Instead of congratulating themselves they should be asking themselves why skilled people are leaving in such large numbers.

"It is indeed encouraging to see the rate of unemployment coming down. But let's remember there are a number of ways in which the unemployment rate can fall.

"Employment growth is a factor, but so is the continuing exodus of people from these shores.

"In the past year we've had a net migration loss of more than 13,000 people. Of those more than 5,500 were skilled workers, the core of our economy. That creates a skills shortage and depresses growth in the labour force, but as a side-effect it also reduces the unemployment rate.

"In an extreme case scenario the unemployment rate could fall simply from the same number of people being employed in a shrinking labour market.

"The current outflow of skilled New Zealanders is creating skills shortages which will eventually have a material impact on the ability of the New Zealand economy to continue to grow," Bill English said.

Ends


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