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Unemployment drops to 4 percent

10 August 2004

Unemployment drops to 4 percent as employment passes two million

The government is welcoming the further drop in unemployment announced today – fuelled by New Zealand’s growing labour market which has just seen total numbers in employment pass two million workers for the first time.

According to Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) for the June 2004 quarter, New Zealand’s official unemployment rate stands at 4.0 per cent (down 0.3 percentage points from the previous quarter).

New Zealand now has the second lowest unemployment rate in the OECD (behing Korea on 3.5 per cent) – and significantly lower unemployment than our major trading partners including Japan (4.6 per cent), the United Kingdom (4.7 per cent), Australia (5.5 per cent) and the United States (5.6 per cent). Unemployment was last at 4.0 per cent in March 1987 and has never registered below this figure since New Zealand adopted the HLFS in 1985.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said the government was proud that more New Zealanders than at any time in our history are now in paid work.

“For the first time two million New Zealanders are in paid work. Since the government came to office 211,000 new jobs have been created – or 136 more people in work each day since the beginning of 2000.

“The statistics confirm the strength of regional economies and indicate that employment gains are being shared around, with Maori and Pacific people’s unemployment dropping again this quarter.

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“The challenge we face now is quite different to the one which we inherited in 1999. There are still a significant number of New Zealanders looking for work and there are significant labour shortages are emerging in some industries and regions.

“These unemployment numbers confirm continued strong economic performance and the wisdom of the government’s investment in industry training, modern apprenticeships and better information about job trends. Later this month the government will also be launching a new project to promote to employers the skills of potential workers who have traditionally found it more difficult to find work, such as sole parents, immigrants and people with disabilities,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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