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Job numbers grow; unemployment down

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills & Employment

5 February 2014

Job numbers grow; unemployment down

Latest labour market data confirms further growth in job numbers and a decline in the unemployment rate from 6.2 to 6.0 per cent, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

Today’s Household Labour Force Survey shows employment was up by 1.1 per cent – 24,000 people – in the December quarter and up 3.0 per cent –66,000 – in the last year. This was the strongest annual rise since December 2006.

“These results are further evidence that the New Zealand economy is heading in the right direction,” Mr Joyce says.

“What is pleasing is the growth is right across the country and shows the Government’s responsible economic policies and comprehensive Business Growth Agenda is creating the opportunities for businesses to invest and employ more people.”

Highlights include:
• The labour force participation rate increased 0.3 per cent to 68.9 per cent – the second highest since records began in 1986. Female participation rose 0.4 per cent to 63.4 per cent – the highest level since the HLFS began
• The rate for youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) for 15-24 year olds fell 0.1 per cent to 11.3 per cent – the lowest rate since December 2008
• Māori and Pasifika unemployment are both down. Māori unemployment rate was 12.8 per cent (from 14.8 per cent a year ago). Pasifika unemployment rate was 13.7 per cent (from 16.0 per cent a year ago)
• Manufacturing jobs are up 6 per cent in the last year or 14,300 people.

New Zealand's unemployment rate remains better than most OECD countries and is just behind Australia (5.8 per cent). New Zealand has a significantly higher employment rate than Australia because of our higher participation rate. The average unemployment rate across the OECD is 7.8 per cent.

Wages continue to rise faster than inflation. Average weekly earnings rose 2.8 per cent in the last year, compared to inflation of 1.6 per cent.

“While steady progress is being made, as a country we need to remain focused on encouraging investment that will bring jobs, and higher incomes for New Zealanders and their families,” Mr Joyce says.

ENDS

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