Official unemployment figures show there are 163,000 New Zealanders out of work.
While the unemployment rate has dropped slightly, the size of the workforce has also shrunk. More bad news for "Mr Fix It" Steven Joyce to front for the Government.
“There's still plenty of challenges left in the market - no doubt about that,” he said today.
Unemployment is at 6.8 percent, meaning 163,000 people are unemployed and a further 111,000 are looking for extra hours of work.
“The way to get more jobs is to attract more investment into the New Zealand economy and that's what we are focussed on doing,” Mr Joyce says.
The current 6.8 percent is better then the 7.3 percent last quarter, which was the worst mark in 13 years. But figures show that percentage is based on a smaller sample; 33,000 fewer people are in the labour force.
“People have left the work force, they've actually given up looking for jobs or they've gone to Australia,” says Labour leader David Shearer.
There's continuing concern over the 90,000 15-24 year olds not in employment, education or training.
The figures make grim reading. The analysis is simple; the job market is flat-lining, which means the economy is too.