Pacific unemployment rate continues to fall

Saturday 9 February 2008, 8:16PM
By Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban

The latest Household Labour Force Survey figures out yesterday are a strong endorsement of the Labour-led government's management of the economy, and a great result for Pacific peoples, said Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

Statistics for the quarter ending December 2007 show that the overall unemployment rate has fallen to 3.4 per cent, New Zealand's lowest unemployment rate on record.

Labour force participation has increased to 68.8 per cent, the highest rate ever recorded.

The December quarter’s figures also show that Pacific unemployment has fallen from 5.5 per cent in September 2007 to 4.7 per cent for December 2007. This is also a large drop from December 2006 when the quarterly unemployment rate for Pacific peoples was 6.8 per cent.

"In 1999 Pacific unemployment was at 13.6 per cent. These statistics are a wonderful result for Pacific peoples seeking paid work. They are also an endorsement of the Labour-led government's prudent economic management and our initiatives to support people into work, such as Working for Families and Work and Income's new service approach," Laban said.

This week three fono were held in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington to discuss the Pacific Employment Project, which provided an opportunity for interaction between grass root communities and the Ministry of Social Development to develop solutions for the future economic development of Pacific peoples.

"The Labour-led government is serious about investing in our Pacific communities. We know our people are energised, youthful and optimistic about the future. We want to encourage programmes that utilise that potential and establish a skilled and versatile Pacific workforce," Laban said.