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Unemployment down to 4.9 per cent

Hon Steven Joyce

Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

2 November 2016
Media Statement

Unemployment down to 4.9 per cent

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce has today welcomed a drop in the unemployment rate to 4.9 per cent, the lowest rate since December 2008.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) shows 35,000 more jobs over the past three months and 3,000 fewer unemployed. Over the past year an additional 144,000 people are in work.

“The Government’s comprehensive economic plan is working for families, as we see more jobs and higher wages helping people get ahead,” says Mr Joyce.

“Average weekly wages are up 1.9 per cent in the past year, compared with inflation of 0.2 per cent. This was influenced by wage settlements for nurses, teachers and the police.

“Labour market participation is now 70.1 per cent, the highest since the series began in 1986. This reflects 33,000 more people in the labour force for the quarter. The employment rate for people 15-years and over was 66.7 per cent, the second highest in the OECD.

“It’s great to see that regional unemployment has decreased, particularly on the West Coast, Manawatu/Whanganui, Northland, Waikato and Wellington.”

Other highlights include:

· Fewer unemployed women, down to 5.1 per cent from 5.4 per cent
· The unemployment rate for Maori is 10.6 per cent, down from 12.1 per cent a year ago
· The unemployment for Pasifika is 10.1 per cent, down from 12.3 per cent a year ago
· A new measure showing underutilisation fell from 12.7 per cent to 12.2 per cent over the quarter
· The rate of 15-24 year-olds not in employment, education or training (NEETs) is 11.1 per cent, up 0.3 per cent for the quarter

“For the first time Statistics New Zealand has recorded data on employment relationships which shows that 90 per cent of people in paid employment are in permanent jobs. This confirms the vast majority of New Zealanders are in stable long-term employment,” Mr Joyce says.

“New Zealand has recovered strongly from the Global Financial Crisis and the Government’s comprehensive Business Growth Agenda will continue to create the economic conditions to drive long-term employment growth and higher wages for Kiwis and their families.” Mr Joyce says.


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