Unemployment figure lowest in seven years

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment

The latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) shows unemployment has fallen to 5.3 per cent, the lowest since March 2009.

There were an additional 21,000 jobs in the December quarter, and 175,000 additional jobs over the past three years.

“It’s positive to see strong falls in unemployment in many regions, including Northland, Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu/Whanganui, Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough/West Coast, Taranaki and the Waikato,” says Mr Joyce.

“The construction industry led the way with 27,500 more people in the year to December, largely driven off residential construction in Auckland. It’s also positive to see strong growth in technicians and trade workers, with 20,800 more employed over the year.

“Wages continue to outpace cost of living increases, with the average weekly wage up 3.1 per cent in the past year, compared with inflation of 0.1 per cent.”

Other highlights include:

  • Youth not in Employment, Education or Training (NEETS) was the lowest since September 2008 (10.9 per cent)
  • The NEET figure for 15-19 year olds was again the lowest since records began in 2004 (6.5 per cent)
  • Pacific peoples unemployment is now the lowest in seven years
  • Maori unemployment fell 1.6 per cent 

“This quarter’s unemployment rate is better than nearly all commentators anticipated.  While that measure will continue to move around each quarter, the job growth and employment figures for New Zealand continue to be strong relative to nearly all other developed countries.

“This shows that the New Zealand economy is growing well relative to our competitors and that the Government’s economic programme including the Business Growth Agenda, is helping provide employers with the confidence to invest and grow jobs. The Government will continue its relentless focus on encouraging investment to grow more and higher paying jobs for New Zealanders.”