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Youth unemployment plummets

Youth unemployment plummets

The number of young people receiving the unemployment benefit has fallen by more than sixty percent since 1999, figures released by Associate Social Development and Employment Minister Rick Barker show.

There were 45,578 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 receiving unemployment benefits in May 1999. By May this year the number had dropped by 61 per cent – to 17,527 young people.

Rick Barker said the falling welfare rolls demonstrated the government’s success at moving young people off welfare and in to work or training.

“The government has put a real emphasis on ensuring young people get a good start to their working lives. These figures show the approach is working.

“New programmes like Modern Apprenticeships and Gateway, and the increasing number of young people going to polytechnics and universities, are ensuring that young people are leaving school committed to building a future for themselves.

“This stands in stark contrast to the 1990s, when young people were left in misery on the unemployment scrap heap.

“All across the country the results have been fantastic. Youth unemployment has fallen by 85 per cent in Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast, 79 per cent on the East Coast and 76 per cent in Canterbury.

“The challenge now is to drive youth unemployment levels even lower. Work and Income are currently implementing youth-focused programmes in each of their regions to achieve this goal,” Rick Barker said.

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