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Triple achievement in employment

7 February 2008 Media Statement

Triple achievement in employment

The latest Household Labour Force Survey results show the unemployment rate at a record low 3.4 per cent, with the number of people unemployed dropping from 79,000 in September to 77,000 in December 2007.

The December quarterly survey also showed the highest level of employment recorded since the survey began in 1986, with 2.173 million New Zealanders now in paid work, up 23,000 from the September quarter, and the highest ever rate of labour force participation, rising to 68.8 per cent.

“These findings show the Labour-led government’s prudent economic management and our initiatives to support people into paid work are paying off,” said Social Development and Employment Minister Ruth Dyson.

"A key goal of our economic and employment policy is to increase workforce participation and these figures show we are clearly on track."

Overall, New Zealand has the fifth lowest unemployment rate of the 27 OECD countries with standardised unemployment rates. By comparison Australia was ranked 10th with an unemployment rate of 4.5 per cent.

Since December 2006 New Zealand full time employment has increased by 25,000 and part time employment increased by 28,000, while the number of people unemployed dropped by 6,000. Underemployed people, or those working part time and seeking more hours, also dropped by 9,500 to 88,000 for the year.

"This caps off an amazing triple achievement for New Zealand of record employment, record labour force participation and record low unemployment – in a wider environment of historically low levels of unemployment. It also complements the Labour Cost Index’s record 3.4 per cent increase in wage and salary rates for 2007 - the highest annual increase since the series began in 1992.

“These results continue to show that high unemployment is a thing of the past. Thanks to initiatives like Working New Zealand, the Labour-led government is supporting more and more people into real jobs.”

For a full copy of the Household Labour Force Survey, go to: www.stats.govt.nz

ENDS

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