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Unemployment figures a considerable achievement

MEDIA RELEASE

10 November 2005

Unemployment figures a considerable achievement

“Today’s unemployment figures with a new low of 3.4% unemployed represent a considerable achievement, while also posing a number of challenges,” Carol Beaumont, Secretary of the Council of Trade Unions said today.

“The first challenge is to improve the quality of jobs,” said Carol Beaumont. “The CTU strongly supports the challenge made by Employment Minister David Benson-Pope to employers today to get moving with improved wage levels, child care and flexible working hours, as a way to retain staff,” said Carol Beaumont.

“A second challenge is to direct our focus to the higher levels of unemployment of Maori and Pacific Peoples. Pakeha unemployment is at 2.2% compared with Maori unemployment of 9.1% and Pacific peoples of 5%.”

“A further challenge is that with persistent labour and skill shortages, we need more productive workplaces if we are going to be able to sustain a reasonable lift in economic growth and living standards. This means working smarter, not working harder, and unions are active at all levels to ensure a workers’ perspective is brought to these discussions.”

Carol Beaumont concluded with a reminder on the human face of these figures. “So often percentages mask the human face of unemployment. We need to remember there are still 73,000 unemployed. The overall jobless figure is 132,200. Although unemployment is at a record low, we must still all do what we can to ensure that there are decent jobs there for those who are unemployed.”

ENDS

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