More people are moving off the dole and into employment on the back of strong economic growth and thousands of jobs, new figures show.
An Infometrics quarterly economic monitor report commissioned by Priority One reveals there were 2905 Jobseeker Support recipients in Tauranga to June 2017 - down 8.4 per cent compared with the previous year. In 2010 an average of 3442 people received this benefit.
Economic growth also remained elevated with a 3.7 per cent jump in GDP over the June year.
''Activity is increasing across a broad range of spending and investment indicators, with job prospects and population growth also riding high,'' the report said.
Meanwhile in 2016 there were 4178 additional jobs created in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty, statistics showed.
Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the job market in Tauranga had been strong over the last few years, topping the country for job growth.
Businesses were keen to secure skilled and unskilled staff and growth was continuing, she said.
''There is strong business confidence in Tauranga ... this sense of optimism is leading to growth aspirations for many.''
A recent business survey indicated 81 per cent of businesses expected to grow over the next financial year and 72 per cent expected to employ additional staff.
''We are seeing job growth across the board, which bodes well for the sustainability of the economy, but particularly in the construction, health services, IT, professional services [engineering, accounting, legal], horticulture and manufacturing sectors.''
The job growth underpinned the wider strong economic performance of the region, she said.
Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said helping people into employment could be challenging.
But it had programmes in place and had teamed up with employers to provide work experience.
A Tauranga Skills for Industry programme focused on upskilling people for specific requirements identified by industry, covering hospitality, construction, horticulture, truck driving, civil construction and forklift driving.
''A seven-week Skills for Industry programme, that finished last week, saw 10 people gain training and work experience in the hospitality industry. Those 10 people are now being actively profiled to employers in Tauranga.''
Daniel Finucane said he used to feel embarrassed when people asked him what he did for a job - because he didn't have one.
The 23-year-old spent two years out of the workforce and stuck in a rut because of health problems.
''I wasn't talking to anyone and at times I felt depressed because I wasn't doing anything,'' Mr Finucane said.
But all that changed two weeks ago when Tint a Car Home and Office owner Wayne Reid teamed up with Work and Income to give Mr Finucane a shot at employment.
Mr Finucane said his confidence had increased and he was going to make the most of the opportunity.
''I'm stoked, it's just awesome.''
Mr Reid said growth in his business prompted him to hire another staff member.
''We were at the point where we needed some help as things are going really well.''
He also believed in giving people a chance and Work and Income offered a job subsidy which was another attraction.
Now it was up to Mr Finucane to learn the skills and he held high hopes for his future.
Work and Income offer a range of products to assist employers to take on its clients.
That can include the flexi-wage subsidy.
Local employers looking to fill either part-time or full-time roles can call 0800 778 008.