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The Otago unemployment and employment figures continue to fluctuate because of seasonal factors, but it does appear some people in the region are struggling to find work and have ruled themselves out of the count.
Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday show 121,300 people were employed in the region at the end of June and 5900 people were out of work, giving a total of 127,200 and an unemployment rate of 4.6%, seasonally unadjusted compared with 5.2% in March.
The number of people saying they are not in the labour force has steadily increased since December, when there were 51,100, to 54,000 in March and 56,900 in June.
In the corresponding period, the working-age population in December was 186,100 in December, 182,500 in March and 184,100 in December.
The region's participation rate has fallen from 72.5% in December, to 70.4% in March and 69.1% in June.
In the past, Otago's fluctuating figures have been put down to the timing of tertiary institute holidays, fruit picking work in Central Otago, and seasonal farming work such as harvesting.
But a review of the trend in the past few years shows despite the generous sampling errors given by Statistics NZ, some Otago people have now either moved into training, further study or are staying at home for various reasons.