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Employment statistics confirm stable labour market

Employment statistics confirm stable labour market

Little change in official employment statistics released this morning confirms more New Zealanders continue to move in to work, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

According to Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey for the March 2003 quarter the official unemployment rate now stands at 5.0 percent (up 0.1 percent from the December 2002 quarter).

However the number in people in work has also increased to 1,895,000 (up 9,000 over the quarter) – meaning more New Zealanders are now in work than at any time in the country’s history. This is an increase of 132,000 New Zealanders in employment since the Labour-led government has been in office.

Steve Maharey said while job growth has begun to slow, as expected, New Zealand’s unemployment rate compares well with other OECD countries and our major trading partners.

“New Zealand has retained its ninth ranking within the OECD. Most of our major trading partners are experiencing higher levels of unemployment, including Japan (5.2), the United States (5.8) and Australia (6.0). We are also considerably below the OECD average of 7 percent.

“None of the labour force changes that have occurred over this quarter are statistically significant. We have maintained stable, if slowing, employment growth and a historically low level of unemployment.

“New Zealand’s working age population topped three million for the first time in this quarter so it is good news that job growth has continued.

“As the government has been saying for some time there are threats to continued job growth on the horizon. Our challenge is to carefully manage our way through them and enable more New Zealanders to gain the security of a well paying secure job,” Steve Maharey said.

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