Drop in jobless total lifts recovery hopes
4:00AM Monday Oct 12, 2009
By Simon Collins

L: Paula Bennett. R: Unemployment figures for the week ending October 2, compared to the previous week. Photos / Paul Estcourt, Herald graphic

New Zealand's dole queue has shrunk for the first time this year, raising hopes that employment might pick up sooner than expected.

Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett said 1950 people signed up for the unemployment benefit in the week to October 2 - but more than 2000 went off the benefit, mostly into work.

The result was a net drop of 90 in the number of people on the dole, from a four-year peak of 60,750 on September 25 to 60,660 - the first weekly fall since last November.

A big factor in the improvement is the Government's job subsidies for young people, announced on August 2.

About 990 young people have been placed in work under the Job Ops scheme, which pays employers a $5000 subsidy to employ a young person for six months.

More here.