5 May 2011

Unemployment rate down slightly

7:24 pm on 5 May 2011

New Zealand's unemployment rate fell slightly in the first three months of the year, however 155,000 people are still unable to find a job.

The figures are part of Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey but do not include Christchurch, where interviewing has been suspended following February's earthquake.

The number of unemployed people fell by 2000 in the three months to the end of March.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell by a tenth of a per cent to 6.6%.

Employment rose by 30,000, or 1.4%, with more people in full and part-time work.

In the previous quarter, unemployment stood at a revised 6.7%.

However, the Unite union, which represents workers of the service industry, says the youth unemployment rate has jumped to 27.5%.

Unite president Gerard Hehir says young people are often the first to go when times are tough and employers need to make cutbacks.

A previously unemployed woman, Janine Cooper, says finding a job is still not easy. Ms Cooper found a job only months ago and says she had to give up on her ideal career path to do it.