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Fall in unemployment welcomed

12 May 2004 Media Statement

Fall in unemployment welcomed

New Zealand’s falling unemployment is being welcomed by the government.

According to Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey for the March 2004 quarter, New Zealand’s official unemployment rate stands at 4.3 per cent (down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter). Employment statistics across a range of measures have improved including the number of people in work, an increase in the number of people moving from part-time to full-time work and an increase in the total actual hours worked.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey says it is good news that more New Zealanders are finding work.

“These results confirm that the number of jobs in the economy continues to grow – up 17,000 more people in employment since December and 61,000 than a year ago.

“The number of Kiwis in work has now grown by 193,000 in the four years since the Labour-led government was elected.

“At 4.3 per cent New Zealand’s unemployment rate is the fourth lowest across the OECD – and is now significantly lower than many of major trading partners including the UK (4.8 per cent), Japan (5.0 per cent), the United States (5.6 per cent) and Australia (5.9 per cent).

“Particularly welcome this quarter are further signs of improvement in regions and groups where employment growth has been slow. Unemployment in Northland has improved considerably and unemployment amongst Maori and Pacific peoples has continued to fall.

“The one note of caution in these results is that our overall unemployment rate has now dropped to such a level that we can expect larger than usual volatility in quarterly statistical results. Neverthless the year-on-year movement is clear – employment continues to grow and unemployment is falling,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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