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New Zealand Economy in good hands

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Social Development & Employment

7 August 2008 Media Statement

New Zealand Economy in good hands

The quarterly Household Labour Force Survey released today shows that the New Zealand economy is weathering the harsh global economic challenges, says Employment Minister Ruth Dyson.

In the last quarter the survey shows 33,000 people joined the workforce while 7,000 people became unemployed increasing the unemployment rate to 3.9% The employment levels for the June quarter are 0.7% higher than 12 months earlier, an increase of 26,000 in the last quarter.

"While the loss of any jobs is never good news for those individuals and families, the number of people employed in New Zealand has increased over the last 12 months with long term unemployment decreasing over the last year," said Ms Dyson.

"New Zealand now has an unemployment rate of 3.9% which is considerably lower than the OECD average of 5.7%. This is 16 quarters with under 4% unemployment. Since late 2004 New Zealand is the only OECD country to remain under 4%.

"It's very important to put these numbers into perspective. New Zealand currently has the 6th lowest unemployment rate in the OECD. Compare that with nine years ago when our placement was 15th. That is significant improvement.

"What this rating indicates is that the New Zealand economy is coping with the significant international pressures comprised of high oil prices, the global credit crunch and high food costs.

"While the labour market does appear to be softening, we are not forecasting a return to the high levels of unemployment experienced in the 90s and many people who have been affected by recent layoffs have been able to find alternative work. The unemployment rate remains low. This is especially significant at a regional level where where unemployment is under 5% in every region for the first time since December 2006.


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