Commissioner urges action on youth unemployment
Nearly one in three young Maori and Pacific workers are unemployed and action is needed to address their plight, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.Mr de Bres said the December household labour force survey showed Maori unemployment had risen
Nearly one in three young Maori and Pacific workers are unemployed and action is needed to address their plight, says Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.
Mr de Bres said the December household labour force survey showed Maori unemployment had risen from 9.8 percent to 15.4 percent in the previous 12 months and from 7.8 percent to 14 percent for Pacific people, but the ethnic breakdown of youth unemployment was not included.
"The figures show a widening gap between different ethnic groups, which will impact on other social and economic areas," he said today.
"The unemployment rates for young people were even more worrying, with the Maori rate going up from 19.5 percent to 30.4 percent and the Pacific rate from 18.6 percent to 29.8 percent."
Mr de Bres said this meant that almost one in every three Maori and Pacific workers aged 15-24 was out of work.
The younger demographic profile of the Maori and Pacific communities meant this had an even greater effect on their communities.
Mr de Bres said he noted in his race relations report last year that the deepening economic recession was the most challenging issue for race relations in 2009.
"After a gradual process of economic and social recovery for Maori and Pacific peoples, progress threatened to be halted and even reversed in terms of employment, standard of living and, consequently, other social conditions," he said.
"This has unfortunately proved to be the case, and as we come out of recession it is vital these increased inequalities are reversed."
Mr de Bres said this was one of the top 10 race relations priorities that would be identified in his annual report this year, due to be released on March 11.
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