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The drop in the unemployment rate is welcome news but the latest figures also highlight the growing pressures in an economy where business are struggling to find workers, National’s Finance spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“The Government inherited a strongly performing economy and today’s employment data, being a lag indicator, reflects that and shows the importance of a well-performing, flexible labour market. The question then arises – why overhaul employment law now?

“In addition, surveys show difficulty in finding skilled workers and changes to employment law are among the biggest concerns for business and have contributed to a slump in confidence.

“Today’s numbers confirm what businesses have been saying for some time about labour market constraints are real and present a significant risk to future economic growth.

“Today’s numbers also reveal the cost of living challenges facing many New Zealand households. Behind the strong headline numbers, we saw wage growth at only 0.5 per cent in the latest quarter, half the growth rate of the cost of living (as measured by CPI).

“It’s pretty simple. Costs are going up faster than incomes. And that means many households are going backwards – particularly those on the lowest incomes.”

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