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Govt: Unemployment falls to 3.8 per cent

Unemployment falls to 3.8 per cent


Unemployment has fallen to 3.8 per cent, with a record 2,022,000 New Zealanders now employed.

Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) for the September 2004 quarter shows New Zealand’s official unemployment rate is the lowest since the HLFS began in 1986. The September quarter figure is down two percentage points from the previous quarter.

This quarter’s strong results have been driven by improved employment for women. The decrease in unemployment is the result of strong employment growth, with women accounting for 16,000 of the 19,000 increase in people employed in the quarter. Labour force participation increased to 67% of the working age population, the highest since the first HLFS in March 1986.

Employment Minister Steve Maharey said the figures, especially the significant annual increase in employment in the manufacturing sector, were good news for the country.

“This is a very strong result. The number of Kiwis in work has now grown by 230,000 since the Labour-led government was elected.

“We are experiencing sustained increases in employment, with employers reporting increasing skill and labour shortages. To address this we need to continue our strong emphasis on skills training and we also need to focus on improving workplace practices – increasing productivity, wage levels, investment in new technology, and attracting and retaining staff.”

New Zealand has the second lowest unemployment rate of the OECD nations with comparable data.

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