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Strong growth in full-time employment continues

12 May 2005

Strong growth in full-time employment continues

New Zealand has recorded its highest ever level of employment with 2,055,000 New Zealanders now employed, according to the March Household Labour Force Survey.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey welcomed the news as further evidence of New Zealand's economic and social strength under the Labour-led government.

"While the unemployment rate has risen slightly to 3.9 per cent, the labour market remains historically strong with the 3rd lowest unemployment rate recorded by the survey, the highest level of employment ever and full-time employment continuing on a very strong growth path," Steve Maharey said.

Steve Maharey said the increase in the unemployment rate was driven by a drop in the number of people in part-time employment, however, the unemployment rate in all regions remains below 5 per cent.

"The survey also records the highest ever level of female participation in the labour force at 60.8 percent.

"The results confirms that we're in an unprecedented period of sustained low unemployment, record labour force participation and record employment," Steve Maharey said.

The strong HLFS result follows Work and Income figures released last month that show the numbers of New Zealanders receiving the Unemployment Benefit fell by 27 per cent in the year to March 2005.

"More people are finding jobs, and more people are moving off benefits," Steve Maharey said.

"We will continue our efforts to help even more New Zealanders into work and to address growing skills and labour shortages. With employers still calling out for workers, there's no reason we can't help even more people off benefits and into jobs."

New Zealand's unemployment rate is around half the OECD average. At 3.8 per cent, South Korea is the only other OECD country with unemployment below 4 per cent.


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