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Maharey Welcomes Reduction In Unemployment Rate

Social Services and Employment Minister has welcomed the reduction in the unemployment rate to 5.2%. The rate has dropped from 5.4% in the March quarter and 6.1 percent a year ago.

"The Labour Alliance Government has made sustainable economic growth and a progressive reduction in unemployment a key priority. It is pleasing to see that we are on track", said Mr Maharey.

"There is little evidence of any significant across the board tightening of the labour market.

"The reduction in long term unemployment is particularly welcome. Total long term unemployment now stands at 26,500, down from 35,700 a year ago – a reduction of 9,200 people.

"This reduction in unemployment and long term unemployment comes on the back of sound employment growth. Employment levels have been increasing over the past four quarters. For the year to June 2001 full time employment was up by 46,000 people or 3.4 per cent.

"The gains in employment have, in the main been shared across regions, age groups and ethnic communities. However, while I welcome the reduction in the unemployment rate for Maori and Pacific peoples, the reduction is not a statistically significant one. More remains to be done to ensure that all members of our society participate in the benefits of a growing economy.

"In summary, this is good news – but it is good news because there is every sign that the rate of improvement in the labour market is a sustainable one, and that we have a balance between labour market demand and supply," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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