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Minister: Unemployment remains lowest in OECD

09 February 2006

Minister: Unemployment remains lowest in OECD

New Zealand continues to have the lowest unemployment in the OECD, Statistics New Zealand's latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) confirmed today.

The quarterly survey showed that New Zealand's official unemployment rate was 3.6 percent. This seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is the equal lowest on record, along with the June 2005 and December 2004 quarters. The December figures maintain New Zealand's position of having the lowest unemployment rate in the OECD – the club of economically developed nations.

Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope welcomed the news noting that for the 2005 calendar year the average of the four quarterly unemployment rates was 3.7 percent, lower than the 2004 average rate of 3.9 percent, and well below the 1999 average rate of 6.8 percent.

The December quarterly figure is a drop of 0.1 percentage points from the September 2005 quarter, although it has to be recognised that the September quarterly figure has been revised up from 3.4 percent to 3.7 percent by Statistics New Zealand*. The official June 2005 quarterly unemployment rate was also 3.6 percent.

Maori and Pacific unemployment saw significant positive shifts in the last year according to the Statistics New Zealand data. Maori unemployment dropped by 1.3 percentage points, from 8.9 percent in December 2004 to 7.6 in December 2005. Pacific unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage points over the same period.

"This Government will continue to emphasise skills training and is committed to programmes like Modern Apprenticeships as we strive to lift both productivity and wages," said Mr Benson-Pope. "Under Labour, the total number of people receiving an unemployment benefit has reduced by around 110,000 since 1999 – that is, a city the size of Dunedin."

ENDS

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