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Strong job growth and record labour market participation

Hon Steven Joyce
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

4 February 2015

Strong job growth and record labour market participation

The latest labour market data shows continuing strong employment growth with 80,000 more jobs added to the New Zealand economy in the last year.

Today’s Household Labour Force Survey shows employment was up by 1.2 per cent – 28,000 people – in the December quarter and up by 3.5 per cent in the last year.

“The NZ economy is continuing to crank out strong job growth in this latest survey,” Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says.

“The other striking element in this jobs report is the record high participation in the labour market of 69.7 per cent. This participation rate increase means that unemployment rises slightly to 5.7 per cent despite the strong job growth.”

The largest regional contributors to growth over the year were Auckland with an increase of 22,300 jobs, Waikato with an increase of 17,400 jobs, Canterbury with an increase of 15,800 jobs, and the Bay of Plenty with an increase of 15,600 jobs.

“It is good to see broad-based job growth continuing in a range of different regions and industries around the country,” Mr Joyce says.

Other highlights include:
• Strong growth in wages with hourly wages up 2.6 per cent over the year, well ahead of inflation of 0.8 per cent
• The female employment rate (60.4 per cent) increasing to the highest level since the series began
• A continuing good story for Maori and Pasifika peoples, with 10,400 more Maori in employment over the year, and the unemployment rate for Pasifika people falling 2.5 per cent over the year
• The North Island unemployment rate steady at 6.2 per cent while the South Island unemployment rate grew from 3.4 per cent to 4 per cent
• The NEET rate for youth aged 15-19 grew slightly to 7.7 per cent while the NEET rate for youth aged 20-24 fell to 14.5 per cent.

“New Zealand continues to fare better than most of the OECD since the Global Financial Crisis. The average unemployment rate across the OECD is currently at 7.2 per cent,” Mr Joyce says.

“The Government is continuing to focus on economic policies that encourage business investment right across New Zealand. It is only when businesses have the confidence to invest that we achieve the sort of job growth that we are now seeing in the New Zealand economy.”

ENDS

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