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Youth unemployment plummets

16 February 2005

Youth unemployment plummets

Youth unemployment fell yet again last year hitting a 16 year low of 9.4 per cent.

The number of young people on the unemployment beneift has fallen by over 62 per cent since the Labour-led government was elected.

Youth Affairs Minsiter Steve Maharey said that the fall is part of the comeback young, working New Zealanders have enjoyed in the first five years of the Labour-led government.

The number of young New Zealanders in employment has grown by 44,000 and the number unemployed has fallen by 12,000 since 1999.

2004 alone saw nearly 10,000 more young New Zealanders in employment than in the previous year.

"It's a good time to be a young New Zealander," Steve Maharey said. "We've seen record participation in tertiary education, thousands of young people gaining skills through the Modern Apprenticeships programme, and now we have confirmation that youth employment is continuing its strong comeback after years of decline.

"In the 1990s youth unemployment hit 19.5 per cent and in 1999 it still stood at 13.7 per cent with a 3 per cent decline in employment that year alone. That trend has now been reversed – last year employment for 15-24 year olds grew by 3 per cent and was up by 3.5 per cent in 2003.

"Young New Zealanders are being provided with more opportunities and they are seizing them in record numbers. We want to see these trends continue.

"The government has set a goal – and allocated $56.9 million in last year's budget to see it through - to ensure that all 15-19 year olds are in education, work or industry training by 2007," Steve Maharey said.

A key part of this drive is the Youth Transitions Service, which provides school leavers with job seeking advice and information on education and training opportunities.

The Youth Transition Service is being launched in five sites across the country over the next month and will be up and running in 14 areas by 2007.

ENDS

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