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Strong employment growth returns NZ to number one

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister for Social Development and Employment

11 August 2005 Media Statement

Strong employment growth returns NZ to number one in the world

New Zealanders have turned in another record-breaking performance with the June Household Labour Force Survey showing more New Zealanders are in work than ever before.

The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.7 per cent – the lowest rate in the developed world – with employment growing by 0.5 percent in the quarter.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said the results were a remider of how far New Zealand's economy and society had progressed over the last six years.

"An unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent and 2,065,000 New Zealanders in work would have been unimaginable in 1999," Steve Maharey said. "Since the Labour-led government was elected the number unemployed has fallen by 36 per cent and 273,000 more people are in jobs.

"The results reinforce the need to continue a strong investment in skills deveopment and to keep working with industries to address skills shortages.

"Labour's commitments to 5,000 extra Modern Apprenticeships, 250,000 people in industry training, and interest free student loans will help build the skills and knowledge base to meet the demands of our growing economy."

Women's Affairs Minister Ruth Dyson welcomed the strong growth in female full-time employment and the record female labour force participation rate of 60.9 percent, in the same week that average female earnings reached a record 86.6 percent of male earnings.

"These results point to women playing a greater role in the New Zealand economy. Labour's investment in paid parental leave, childcare and quality early childhood education helping to ensure going to work is a real choice for all New Zealanders – men and women," Ruth Dyson said.

The positive HLFS results follows the release of Work and Income figures last month showing that the number of New Zealanders on the unemployment benefit has reached a 19 year low.

ENDS

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