Nine people have lost their jobs while three more have resigned at Invercargill engineering company JK Stevenson.

General manager Peter Edwards told the Southland Times the job losses were due to restructuring.

Staff could reapply for their positions and the most suitable candidates would be selected, Mr Edwards said.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday one thousand people a week were joining the dole queue as the recession took hold.

Mr Key said the Reserve Bank had forecast the economy had shrunk by 1 per cent in the first quarter, but he would be surprised if this was the case as he believed the economy had performed more strongly than some thought.