Job loss figures show scale of economic challenge

The latest unemployment figures paint a sad picture for thousands of New Zealand families and highlight the scale of the economic challenge our country is facing, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“2700 people joined the unemployment benefit in the week to August 21, the largest increase in joblessness since the beginning of July. And a further 2500 people joined the unemployment benefit in the last week of August.

“That means more than 5000 people registered for unemployment support in the fortnight to August 28. That brings the total number of people receiving some kind of unemployment benefit to 222,000, nearly 80,000 more people unemployed than in March.  

“These numbers represent the first significant uptake in joblessness since early July and may be the beginning of a third wave of job losses.

“With the third tranche of the wage subsidy ending this week, the real cost of this economic downturn is yet to be felt.

“These figures underscore the need for a Government that is absolutely focused on growing the economy and creating jobs.

“Instead, all we are seeing is in-fighting between Government parties at a time when it’s critical we have a unified and coherent Government. While James Shaw was engaging in brinkmanship, people were losing their jobs.

“National has released its policy package focused on supporting Small Businesses so they can thrive and create more jobs for New Zealanders. Our pro-employment policies will give businesses the confidence to grow and the unemployed a chance at finding work again.”