Employment rates at record high

  • Hon Willie Jackson

It is heartening to see the economy continuing to add jobs at a good pace, and that wage growth is picking up for hard-working Kiwis, Employment Minister Willie Jackson says.

Data released today by Stats NZ showed 94,000 more people were in employment in the June 2018 quarter compared to June 2017 – an annual growth rate of 3.7. This compared to rise in annual growth from 3.1% (79,000) in the March quarter.

“Looking beneath the headline figures there are welcome signs of strength in areas that the Coalition Government is targeting its policies,” Willie Jackson says.

“Peoples wages are rising. We have the highest rate of employment ever among Māori and Women and New Zealand has one of the highest rates of employment in the world,” Willie Jackson said.

“Young people’s prospects look much better. Our rate of young people aged 15-24 not in employment, education or training (NEETs) fell from 12.4% to 10.9% in the June quarter.  Budget 2018 contained a number of initiatives aimed at encouraging our rangatahi into employment and in the past six months, as Minister of Employment, I have delivered over $13 million under He Poutama Rangatahi with more announcements to come.

“We’ve seen the highest employment rate for women on record this quarter at 62.8%. Annually, 54,000 more women were employed and the unemployment rate for women is the lowest since December 2008.

“We’ve also seen the highest employment rate on record for Māori. In fact, all data for Māori is positive, with Māori unemployment and the number of Māori NEETs falling in the June quarter.  The gap between Māori and the general population is closing, something I am proud of and committed to improving further”

“The overall number of people entering the labour force rose in June, contributing to a slight uptick in the unemployment rate from 4.4% to 4.5%, but this came as employment growth remained strong and kept pace with the working age population.

“Our unemployment rate continues to outperform Australia, and our employment rate for people aged 15-64 is the third highest in the OECD at 77.4%. 

“Wages also grew in June, with private sector salary and wage rates up 2.1% annually, with the rise in the minimum wage contributing to this. Another measure for wage growth – the Quarterly Employment Survey data for average total weekly earnings for full-time equivalent employees – increased 3.3% from a year ago to $1,207.06. 

“Despite the positive figures released today, the Coalition Government recognises there is still work to do as we work towards an unemployment rate of 4% by the end of this term,” Willie Jackson said.