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Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith is welcoming the latest Household Labour Force Survey data for the Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough and West Coast region which shows it has the lowest unemployment rate nationwide.

“The latest data has unemployment in the region at just 2.8 per cent for the March quarter, against a national rate of 4.9 per cent. Our regional unemployment is down from 4.1 per cent on the previous quarter, and the extra 1800 people in the region in jobs in just three months took employment here to a record 96,600.

“Our 2.8 per cent unemployment compares well with Northland (8 per cent), Auckland (5 per cent), Bay of Plenty (7.6 per cent), Waikato (4.9 per cent) Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay (7.6 per cent), Taranaki (6.3 per cent), Manawatu/Wanganui (5.3 per cent), Wellington (5.1% per cent), Canterbury (4 per cent), Otago (4.4 per cent) and Southland (4.7 per cent).

“This comes on top of the recently released ASB/Main Report Regional Economic Scoreboard for the December quarter which ranks Nelson’s economic performance as top among the nation’s 16 regional council areas. These ratings are based on measures including employment, construction, retail trade and house prices.

“The ASB scoreboard notes Nelson is number one in terms of residential construction growth for the year, with the retail sector not far behind due to tourism. It predicts the region’s good fortunes will continue well into this year and says it could hold its top rating for some time.

“The Statistics New Zealand data for the year to March 2017 shows the value of commercial construction in the area is at a record $70.5 million – up a massive 200 per cent on the previous year – and residential construction hit $96 million, up 35 per cent.

“Our economy is growing strongly, our families are benefiting from this growth and we can look forward to this continuing,” Dr Smith says.

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