Local business needs incentives to hire young, unskilled workers and stave off the worst national unemployment rate in more than a decade, a local union rep says.
Statistics New Zealand figures show Wanganui has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country at 9.4 per cent - above the national rate of 7.3, the worst since 1999.
Wanganui Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union spokesman Colin Webster said, as a regional centre, Wanganui suffered the brunt of the economic downturn.
"And everybody suffers, businesses including the workforce as well," he said. "There aren't that many jobs in Wanganui and what jobs there are usually get snapped up pretty quick."
Opportunities were limited. The unemployed were told to upskill, but there were no incentives or help to do so.
"I'd like to see some sort of tax incentive for medium to small-sized businesses to be able to take on young or unemployed people."
Nationally, vacancies advertised online rose 15 per cent in the last year, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says.
Demand for skilled workers was up nationwide but it warned that weak employment growth showed the labour market still faced major challenges.
Nationally, unemployment rose by 19,000 to 170,100 in the year to September, pushing the unemployment rate up from 6.6 per cent to 7.3 per cent - the highest since 1999. APNZ