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HLFS scores significant trifecta

11 May 2006

HLFS scores significant trifecta

The release today of Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey confirms the government is on track with its economic transformation agenda, says Social Development and Employment Minister David Benson-Pope.

The March quarterly survey showed the highest level of employment recorded since the survey began, with 2.1 million New Zealanders now in work, up 23,000 in the March quarter. By contrast the survey noted 8,000 more people were unemployed.

It also showed the highest ever rate of labour force participation, rising to 68.5 percent.

"A goal of our transformation agenda is to increase participation," said Mr Benson-Pope. "We are clearly on track."

Overall, New Zealand has the second lowest unemployment rate of the 27 OECD countries with standardised unemployment rates. The rate of unemployment in New Zealand rose 0.3 of a percent in the December quarter to 3.9 percent. The OECD average rate for the March quarter was 6.3 percent.

By comparison the United States were ranked 9th with an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent; United Kingdom were 10th with an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent; and Australia were 11th with an unemployment rate of 5 percent.

Mr Benson-Pope noted that in the March 2006 quarter an extra 23,000 New Zealanders were employed: "Significantly, this latest survey shows that more New Zealanders were gaining full-time employment, which brings much greater stability and certainty to families," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"The level of underemployment – the number of people wanting to work more hours but unable to get this work – also reduced by 13,000.

"This caps off an important employment trifecta, record employment, record labour force participation and record low underemployment – in a wider environment of historically low levels of unemployment.

"This survey confirms what we have seen in benefit numbers in New Zealand, with almost 118,000 fewer New Zealanders receiving benefits today than when Labour took office in 1999."

Ends

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