By Australian Associated Press
Published: 03:05 BST, 5 August 2020 | Updated: 03:05 BST, 5 August 2020
Data showing joblessness in New Zealand has actually gone down during the coronavirus pandemic have been welcomed, albeit with sharp skepticism from some quarters.
Stats NZ on Wednesday produced an eye-blinking figure of 4 per cent unemployment for the June quarter, down from 4.2 per cent last quarter.
In May's Budget, Treasury predicted the June rate would be 8.3 per cent.
Data showing joblessness in New Zealand has actually gone down during the coronavirus pandemic have been welcomed, albeit with sharp skepticism from some quarters. Jacinda Ardern is pictured last week
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the figures showed the 'robustness of the economy' and were a vindication of NZ's hard lockdown, which eliminated COVID-19.
'Being able to reopen our economy sooner has saved jobs. It is proof that getting on top of the virus is the best thing we can do for our economy,' he said.
Mr Robertson noted comparative unemployment rates of 7.4 per cent in Australia and 11.1 in the USA.
Yet, as he acknowledged, the headline result doesn't tell the full story.
Labour force participation and overall employment are also down as people left the workforce entirely.
Hours worked (down 10 per cent) and the underutilisation