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No Room For Complacency On Unemployment

09 May 2002

The Council of Trade Unions welcomed the small decrease in the unemployment rate today, bringing the level down to 5.3%.

“This is a good result given that the size of the labour force has been increasing with a lot fewer workers going to Australia and a higher number of immigrants,” said CTU economist Peter Conway.

“However, there is no room for complacency.”

Peter Conway said the there were 104,000 officially unemployed.

“Using the broader definition of ‘jobless’, there are 188,500 out of work,” he said.

“In addition, there are 106,100 people seeking more hours of work and are regarded as underemployed.”

Peter Conway said that although the rate of unemployment for Maori and Pacific Islanders had fallen, at 10.8% and 9.7% respectively, this was still much higher than for European/Pakeha at 4.2%.

“This also shows that there is still a lot of labour market capacity in the economy, which confirms the advice we have from employers and this should be noted by the Reserve Bank,” he said.

“We need to aim for even lower rates of unemployment through more investment, more industry training, and industry and regional development.”


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