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Investment in jobs vital as unemployment rises


06 November 2008

Investment in jobs vital as unemployment rises

The Council of Trade Unions says today that investment in jobs and skills will be vital as we see unemployment on the rise.

Figures released today showed that unemployment is now at 4.2 percent with 6,000 more unemployed than 3 months ago.

Peter Conway, CTU Economist, said “this is the result of the recession and early stages of the fallout from the global financial crisis”.

“We are in a stronger position than many other countries – in the USA unemployment is at 6.1 percent and it is 5.7 percent in the United Kingdom. Also the average rate of unemployment in New Zealand has been 4.3 percent since 2000 compared with 7.7 percent in the 1990s.”

“It is also encouraging that while employment growth is clearly slowing, participation rates in the labour force still remain relatively high.”

“We must build on that strong base with a major programme to invest in jobs and people. Measures that the CTU identified in our paper Short Term Stimulus for Long Term Gain outlines what could be done to help firms retain workers, bring forward infrastructure and other job-rich programmes, and assist workers that are laid off.”

“The Government has been actively involved in getting people back into work and this is why around a quarter of the number unemployed from the Household Labour Force Survey actually end up receiving an unemployment benefit. This work has to continue and be expanded through the job search allowance, retraining allowance, and other support services including proposals to allow workers made redundant to retain In Work Tax Credits.”

“Mâori unemployment is at 9.3 percent partly because of a higher proportion of young people but also due to ongoing discrimination and disadvantage. While Mâori unemployment is a lot lower now than in the 1990s, every effort must be made to ensure that Mâori do not bear a higher burden than others as a result of a slower economy,” Peter Conway said.


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