Drop in unemployment shows Govt economic plan is working

  • Hon Grant Robertson
  • Hon Carmel Sepuloni

The Government’s economic recovery plan continues to be reflected in the labour market, with more people in work and unemployment falling.

Stats NZ figures show employment rose by 15,000 in the March quarter, with 14,000 more women in work.

The unemployment rate fell from 4.9 percent to 4.7 percent. This compares with the Treasury’s Half year Economic and Fiscal Update forecast unemployment rate of 6.5 percent.

“The Government’s plan to keep people connected to their job and accelerate the recovery has been reflected in these positive results. An extra 32,000 people are in jobs since September 2020, when unemployment peaked at 5.2 percent,” Grant Robertson said.

“The Government’s COVID-19 response to outbreaks in February helped support workers and businesses, through measures such as the Resurgence Support Payment and Wage Subsidy.

“The number of people employed in Auckland hit a record high in the March quarter, to 922,000.

“Our focus is on accelerating the recovery. The vaccination rollout and careful re-opening of our borders provides confidence, particularly to those working in firms and sectors such as tourism that have felt the effects of the pandemic more than most. We also continue to invest heavily in education, skills and training to build back better,” Grant Robertson said.

“We acknowledge that unemployment is likely to move around a bit due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic. Nevertheless, New Zealand has performed favourably against the countries we measure ourselves against,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

On comparable measures, New Zealand’s 4.7 percent unemployment rate stands against 5.9 percent in Australia, 6.2 percent in the United States and 8.4 percent in Canada. The OECD average is 6.7 percent.

“The stronger labour market has also seen a record number people come off the benefit in the March quarter, with nearly 33,000 entering paid work, Carmel Sepuloni said.

“We have continued to make interventions to assist those who are disadvantaged in the labour market to re-enter the workforce. Flexiwage, which was launched in February, is already beginning to make a difference.

“The statistics also show that people are feeling more secure in their jobs, with an 11.8 percent fall in the number of people who feel they might lose their jobs.

“While today’s figures are positive, we know we have more work to do,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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