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Govt Attacked Over Rise In Unemployment

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Paula Bennett. Pic: NZPA
Paula Bennett. Pic: NZPA

Wellington, Feb 5 NZPA - A sharp rise in unemployment numbers has led to Opposition MPs calling for more action from the Government to deal with the economic recession.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey recorded a lift from 4.2 percent to 4.6 percent in the last three months of 2008.

Unemployment increased by a seasonally adjusted 10,000, or 10.8 percent, to 105,000.

The last time the number of unemployed topped 100,000 was in September 2002.

In the December 2007 quarter the rate had fallen to 3.4 percent, the lowest since SNZ started the survey in 1986.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said the rise had been forecast and more bad news was likely to come as worldwide economic conditions deteriorated.

Ms Bennett pointed to the extra assistance the Government was providing to those who lost their jobs, moves to assist business and boost jobs.

Labour politicians were unimpressed, with social development spokeswoman Annette King saying Ms Bennett was offering platitudes when she should be finding ways to help the unemployed back into jobs.

The Greens employment spokeswoman Sue Bradford said the upcoming jobs summit should involve the unemployed and look at ways of creating socially and environmentally useful jobs.

There was one surprising aspect to the statistics today with overall employment increasing by a seasonally adjusted 21,000, or 0.9 percent, to 2.19 million -- the highest level of employment recorded since the survey began.

Most of the growth came from part-time employment, which grew by 17,000, or 3.5 percent, with full-time employment up 6000, or 0.3 percent.

Ms Bennett said the overall labour force grew by 31,000 with 21,000 in employment and 10,000 in unemployment.

"This suggest most of those who are looking for work are finding jobs," Ms Bennett said.

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