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Unemployment number drops by 200

A reduction in the number of unemployed in Gisborne is being pointed to as a sign of a buoyant economy.

Latest employment figures show the unemployment rate for the combined Hawke’s Bay-Gisborne region is 4.8 percent.

However, estimates provided to The Gisborne Herald from Statistics New Zealand show that when taken separately Gisborne’s unemployment rate is even lower — having fallen to 4 percent from 4.3 percent at the same time last year.

The figures, which Statistics NZ says should be treated as “indicative”, show the number of unemployed was 200 fewer than the same time last year, with about 1100 people classed as unemployed.

However, there were also about 600 fewer people counted as being in work as the region’s total labour force fell to 27,000.

Gisborne Chamber of Commerce chief executive Terry Sheldrake said businesses here were buoyant.

“From the Chamber’s perspective, obviously we have strong horticulture, forestry and primary sectors.

“When talking to local businesses, in general feedback is that our economy is buoyant and these businesses convey a feeling of being in a strong position.

This will always flow through to unemployment statistics. Yet there are still employment opportunities on offer across many sectors.”

Gisborne-based Labour List East Coast MP Kiri Allan said the Government’s delivery of schemes like Mana in Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi had made good progress in getting more of the region’s rangatahi (youth) into employment, education or training.

“At the beginning of this Government’s term, Gisborne had the highest unemployment rate in New Zealand. Today it is a very different story.

“I’m really proud of the work the Government is doing to create jobs and boost wages in our region. This record unemployment rate is making a huge difference in the lives of whanau and communities.

“He Poutama Rangatahi supports young people aged 15 to 24 into a path of long-term employment. Tairawhiti was one of the first places where the programme was established.

“We’re also boosting forestry and horticulture on the East Coast to create sustainable, skilled employment and help our region thrive.

“There’s always more work to do but after nine years of neglect we’re getting on with the job of fixing the long-term challenges facing New Zealand.”

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the figures showed the Coalition Government’s economic plan was delivering jobs and higher wages nationally.

The unemployment rate had fallen to an 11-year low of 3.9 percent, he said. The number of people in employment increased by more than 21,000 over the three months to June 30, and annual wage growth hit a decade-high of 4.4 percent.

“This is a tick of approval for the Coalition Government’s economic plan and responsible management of the economy.

“Our plan focuses on making sure all New Zealanders share in our economic success while transitioning the economy to more productive and sustainable growth that will lift the living standards of everyone.”

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