New Government estimates reveal a big rise in the number of people working in Hawke's Bay, just as a new scheme to get more people into work gets the go-ahead.
Provisional statistics provided to Hawke's Bay Today by Statistics New Zealand estimate the number of people employed in Hawke's Bay (not including Gisborne) rose by about 5200 between June this year and June last year.
Meanwhile, the number of people unemployed fell from 3900 to 3600, leading a reduced unemployment rate in Hawke's Bay of 4.3 per cent - down from 6.3 per cent in June 2017.
The figures, which Stats NZ pointed out were indicitave only, also show a rise in the region's total labour force - up more than 3000 to 85,200, with a labour force participation rate of 67.6 per cent.
Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.5 per cent in the June 2018 quarter, up from 4.4 per cent last quarter.
The news came just as Education Minister Willie Jackson announced the Government would provide $375,000 to support 75 young people in Hawke's Bay into employment through LIFT's He Poutama Rangatahi Hikina programme.
"This is an ambitious and exciting project by LIFT Social Enterprise, an organisation that is well connected with a strong focus on providing young job seekers with the critical foundation skills required to enter the job market," Jackson said.
"LIFT is designed and delivered for young people, by local young people, which makes it unique among employment programmes.
"Young people aged 15 to 24 who are not in education, employment or training make up 16.5 per cent of the population in Hawke's Bay. This is the second highest in the country after Gisborne."
He Poutama Rangatahi is a Government initiative to support young people and to bring them together with employers.
"Our youth are our future. Tackling youth unemployment is a Government priority that benefits us all. I am committed to working with the communities in our regions of highest need to support our rangatahi into sustained employment."
In June, Jackson also revealed the Government would provide $1.7m of funding for four locally led employment initiatives in Hastings.