Shortening dole queue welcomed
The number of people claiming the unemployment benefit in Horowhenua and Manawatu slowly crept up towards the end of the year, but declined overall during 2012.
In Palmerston North during the December 2012 quarter there were 1023 on the benefit, a drop of 15 per cent on the equivalent period in 2011.
The number of people on the unemployment benefit in Horowhenua dropped 8 per cent to 777, while the Manawatu figure fell 10 per cent to 248.
Nationally, the number of people on the unemployment benefit dropped 10 per cent to 53,747.
While Palmerston North, Manawatu and Horowhenua had more people on the unemployment benefit when compared to the September quarter last year, the number usually rises in the December quarter.
Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor said it was good to see annual numbers heading in the right direction.
"It's obviously great when we have people in work.
"It is always encouraging when we are also doing better than the national averages."
Mr Naylor said he was especially encouraged by the youth unemployment rate, with the number of people aged 18 to 24 on a benefit dropping from 29.3 per cent in September to 25.1 per cent in December, but he was not getting carried away.
"Twenty per cent youth unemployment is still much higher than any one of us likes to see."
There was plenty of work still to be done to tackle unemployment in 2013, he said.
"There is still a challenge before us to continue to try to attract businesses here, to grow the job market and to support businesses."
The number of long-term beneficiaries had also dropped, now sitting at 1.8 per cent.
Mr Naylor said the statistic showed people were making their way back into work.