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Unemployment rate rises to 6.8 percent

Unemployment rate rises to 6.8 percent

There are 2,170,000 New Zealanders in work, but there are still officially 159,000 people looking for full or part time jobs.

The official unemployment rate has risen from 6 percent to 6.8 percent since March, still down from the previous 7.1 percent unemployment rate in December.

“While the rate rose since the last quarter, it has decreased since last December,” says Employment Minister Paula Bennett.

“But the fact is, we still have too many people out of work and that’s where our focus remains,” says Ms Bennett.

In Budget 2010 the Government announced an extra $12.6 million to go into Employment Assistance.

So far Job Ops and Community Max have made a real difference to youth, with 6,570 young people taking up a Job Ops position and 3,568 on Community Max.

Statistics New Zealand, which calculates the official Unemployment Rate, reports there has been significant volatility in the rate this year.

“We always knew it would be a bumpy road to recovery post-recession and it is, but an overall picture is emerging of a very slow, steady recovery,” says Ms Bennett.

The trend shows since December 2009, there are 5,000 fewer people unemployed and an extra 15,000 people are in work.

“Many New Zealanders whose hours were reduced during the recession are seeing those hours increase again, which is also part of the picture,” says Ms Bennett.

The unemployment rate for Pacific people fell to 14.1 percent and the unemployment rate for Maori rose to 16.4 percent since March.

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It is only a slight increase since December when there were 24,900 unemployed Maori, there are now 26,400.

The rate of unemployment, for 15-24 year olds, has risen from 17.2 to 18.2 percent since March, it was 18.4 percent in December.

New Zealand’s 6.8% percent unemployment rate compares to UK (7.8%), Australia (5.1%) and Ireland (13.3%).

The labour force participation rate is 68% in New Zealand compared to 65.2% in Australia.

The percentage of New Zealand’s working age population on an unemployment benefit is 2.2% compared with 4.6% in Australia and 3.5% in the UK.


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