Rise In Unemployment Disappointing But In Line With Expectations

  • Peter McCardle

The rise in the official unemployment rate, while disappointing, was not unexpected, and reflects the impact which Asia's economic problems are having on New Zealand, Employment Minister Peter McCardle said today.

The official unemployment rate has risen 0.6 per cent over the June 1998 quarter.

The Household Labour Force Survey figures released today show that seasonally adjusted unemployment is now at 7.7 per cent, up from 7.1 per cent in the March quarter.

Mr McCardle said, "New Zealand, like many trading nations, has been affected by the Asian decline, which began to bite earlier this year. Asia takes a third of our exports, and when their economies stumble, there is less demand for our exports, which means job losses. The drought was another factor. It has knocked back the agricultural sector in parts of the country.

"New Zealand is going through difficult times because of these factors, but a pickup is generally forecast. Positive economic growth is anticipated through 1999, helped particularly by the lower New Zealand dollar, lower interest rates and the tax cuts."