Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says that while the unemployment rate fell from 7.3 to 6.9 per cent in the December quarter HLFS, the labour market remains challenging.
“This latest survey reflects the on-going impact of tough economic times globally,” Mr Joyce says. “It also demonstrates the volatility of the quarterly employment data which continues to move around.
“While our reported participation rate has fallen to 67.2 per cent, it remains higher than Australia at 65.1 per cent. Our employment rate is also higher than Australia. The data shows New Zealand’s unemployment rate remains better than most OECD countries which have an average unemployment rate of 8.0 per cent.
“The latest results reinforce the importance of the Government’s programme to attract new investment and jobs into the New Zealand economy.
“Through our Business Growth Agenda the Government is removing barriers and delays for companies seeking to make productive investments in this country.
“That includes oil and gas exploration, the expansion of intensive agriculture, the development of aquaculture, investment in hi-tech innovation, supporting our film industry, and progressing an international convention centre in Auckland.
“The reality is that if we are serious about creating more jobs in New Zealand then we need to encourage greater domestic and foreign investment. We need to be open to all our opportunities. Nothing creates jobs better than competitive businesses.
“The Government is also investing billions of dollars into the Christchurch rebuild and upgrading our infrastructure, including the rollout of ultra-fast broadband, investments in transport, and upgrading the electricity grid.”