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Maharey: Unemployment Steady At 5.2%

Social Services and Employment Minister has welcomed the fact that the economy continued to experience modest employment growth in the September quarter.

“We should celebrate the fact that there are more New Zealanders in paid work than at any time in our past – employment increased in the September quarter by 6,000 to an estimated 1,825,000 New Zealanders.

“Unemployment numbers have continued to decline for the sixth consecutive quarter – down 1,000 in the last quarter – and that too is welcome news.

“In the year ended September employment grew by 39,000 people. That is a clear indication of the underlying strength of the economy going into September.

“I welcome the increase in employment for Pacific peoples, however the rate of unemployment for Maori, and for Pacific peoples still presents a major challenge.

“It must be emphasised however that these September quarter 2001 results will not have captured the impact of the September 11 terrorist attacks as they occurred only three weeks before the end of the quarter. The HLFS is a continuous survey and results reflect the average labour market conditions for the quarter. In addition the time period is too short for the attacks to have any significant impact on the labour market.

“The Quarterly Employment Survey results, released earlier this week, suggest that there has been some softening in the labour market, and the challenge now is to maintain a sustainable level of economic activity in the face of considerable uncertainty about the international economy.

“Already there is some evidence of a slow-down in some sectors as a direct result of the events of September 11. We will not be immune to negative global developments, but the New Zealand economy is better placed to cope now, than it was in some past episodes of global slow-down,” Steve Maharey said.

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