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Employment Growth Continues

Employment Growth Continues – Focus On Job Creation Must Continue

The fall in unemployment is welcomed by the Government says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

The results of the Household Labour Force Survey for the March 2001 quarter were released today. Employment growth over the quarter is static, but up 2.3% (or 41,000 new jobs) for the year to March 2001.

Mr Maharey said the fall in unemployment is largely attributable to a decrease in labour market participation.

"The Government welcomes the further drop in unemployment, but the factors behind the official rate are also important.

"Full-time employment has increased, while part-time employment and under-employment have fallen. It is pleasing to note that more people are working longer hours for better pay, or moving into education and training to improve their skills for a return to the workforce.

"The rate of employment growth is clearly slowing – although a further 41,000 people gained employment over the year, and the signs are positive for the June quarter – but all the signs point to unemployment continuing to reduce over the long term.

"There is no room for complacency. There have been reductions in unemployment amongst Maori and Pacific peoples but the rate still remains too high.

"Regional employment growth also remains patchy. The Government is right to be focussing on regional economic development to ensure that New Zealanders living in the towns, as well as the cities, benefit from a growing economy and the security of paid employment," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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