The number of jobless in Palmerston North and Manawatu has fallen, with up to one in five of those on the dole a year ago now in work or overseas.
In June 2012, there were 1059 people registered for the unemployment benefit in the region, a decline of 244 people from June 2011, or 19 per cent.
Nationally, Ministry of Social Development figures show the jobless numbers fell 12 per cent.
City council economic policy adviser Peter Crawford said it was encouraging that young people aged 18-24 made up a smaller portion of the unemployed than a year ago.
Last June, 37 per cent of people on the dole were in that age group in the city alone. That had fallen to 27 per cent.
There were 1745 permanent departures from the city and Manawatu district in June, up from 1408 a year ago.
However, that was partly offset by a larger inflow of people than at the same time last year.
Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor welcomed the drop in unemployment.
“While the recent decline in unemployment is encouraging, it would be great to see further declines in the number of people out of work.”
Mr Crawford said numbers on the sickness, invalids and domestic purposes benefits also fell one to three per cent.
That suggested the people who had come off the dole had not just been redirected on to other benefits.
The proportion of the working age population registered for the unemployment benefit was 1.2 per cent in the region compared with 1.5 per cent for New Zealand.
Mr Crawford said the growth in local jobs had been driven by call centres, large commercial building projects such as Mitre 10, UCOL, the Kelvin Grove supermarket and the Julia Wallace Village, and an increase in the number of cafes.
His concern was that consents for housing in Palmerston North remained low, so it was uncertain whether there would continue to be jobs in construction as the commercial developments came to an end.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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