Southern unemployment rates are remaining in a tight
band, leading Otago-Southland Employers Association chief
executive John Scandrett to remain ''pretty relaxed'' about
Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday show Otago
had an unemployment rate of 4.6% in March, up from 4.4% in
December but down from 4.8% in September.
In March last year, Otago's unemployment rate was 5.4%.
Southland had a significant fall in unemployment, to 4.7% in
March compared with 5.7% in December and 5.4% in September.
In March last year, Southland's unemployment rate was 4.9%.
Otago has a workforce participation rate of 71.3% and
Southland's rate is 72.3%. All figures are seasonally
Canterbury, as expected, had the lowest unemployment rate of
the South Island at 3.3% as the rebuild continues to soak up
The Government this week announced a ''$3k for Christchurch''
scheme under which $3.5 million will be spent trying to lure
beneficiaries to take up jobs in the damaged city for a
one-off payment of $3000.
Mr Scandrett said in an interview Otago and Southland's
unemployment rates were at the lower end of the range
compared with some North Island regions.
''I'm contented by that outcome. It seems employers here are
making an effort to hold on to good staff. That is supported
by salaries and other benefits being offered.''
Recently, Mr Scandrett ran an ''unofficial ruler'' over the
region's manufacturing and services industries' data which
showed Otago and Southland rated highly in most measures.
Taken in isolation, the figures could lead to scepticism. But
together, the signals were aligning, he said.
General feedback received from association members showed
optimism for the future and Mr Scandrett believed the current
trends would continue throughout the year.