A jobs fono in the New Zealand capital Wellington yesterday heard young Pacific people look set to bear the brunt of the recession.
Pacific leaders were called to the fono at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs to come up with ideas to take to the government's national job summit next week.
The fono heard Pacific unemployment rose to 7.8 percent in December 2008, compared to 5.2 percent a year earlier.
Unemployment rates were also much higher for 15 to 19 year olds and for people in Auckland, prompting the Ministry to suggest the impact of the recession on Pacific youth could take years to reverse.
The Ministry's chief executive, Colin Tukuitonga says the fono identified the need to help them through the financial crisis.
"the need to focus on young people, particularly those who have left school without a qualification - about half of them. We need to focus on them - not just for them and their families and communities, but obviously for New Zealand as a whole because that is the workforce of the future."
Colin Tukuitonga says young people need to be directed into training that meets employers needs.