New Zealand unemployment numbers rose by 0.8 percent in the December quarter. The rise is larger than projected by the Government, and has been attributed to an increase in the working age population.
According to a February 4th media release by Paula Bennett, Social Development and Employment Minister, New Zealand’s unemployment figure has risen to 7.3 percent. The figure represents approximately 168 000 unemployed across the country. The rise was caused by an extra 14 500 individuals entering into the New Zealand’s working age population. According to Paula Bennett the New Zealand economy has been growing, but the rate of growth of jobs has not matched the number of extra workers in the quarter.
The minister stated that it is typical to see that job growth lagging behind an economic recovery, and while the figures might look daunting it is important to remember that New Zealand has fared better through the economic downturn than many other nations. According to Paula Bennett, the average OECD nation unemployment level is currently 8.6 percent.
Paula Bennett continued to say that while the unemployment figure had risen, it could have gone higher without the Government’s priority to see more people enter the workforce. She claimed that nearly one third of all new welfare applicants were matched up with employment instead. Further, the number individuals who left the Unemployment Benefit and entered the workforce was 3 851 in January.
Photo by Wisconsin Historical Images