New Zealand Unemployment Rate ticks higher, mixes with positive Employment figures

By | July 31, 2018

New Zealand’s Unemployment Rate ticked higher to 4.5%, missing expectations of a steady reading of 4.4%, while the Employment Change figure clocked in at 0.5%, beating the forecast 0.4% but still slipping back from the previous reading of 0.6%.

According to Stats New Zealand, “In the June 2018 quarter, the employment rate was 67.7 percent. This has remained unchanged for three consecutive quarters, and is the second-highest employment rate since the series began in 1986. The highest was in the September 2017 quarter, when it was 67.8 percent.

Annually, seasonally adjusted total employment was up 93,000 people to reach 2,631,000, an increase of 3.7 percent. Seasonally adjusted filled jobs, as measured by the quarterly employment survey (QES), increased 1.2 percent annually. This resulted in 23,100 more jobs, to reach a total of 1,953,800. The industries with the greatest growth in jobs over the June 2018 year were education and training; retail trade; and professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services.

The labour cost index (LCI) increased 1.9 percent in the year to the June 2018 quarter. The minimum wage increase by the Government of 75 cents to $16.50 on 1 April 2018 was the main contributor to higher wage rates for the quarter. However, the Care and Support Workers (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017 remains the key contributor for the year, most notably for private sector care workers.

Total underutilised was 344,000, up 6,000. Underemployed was 117,000, up 5,000. Unemployed was 124,000, up 4,000. Potential labour force was 103,000, down 3,000. From the potential labour force, there were 82,100 available potential jobseekers, down 3,200; and unavailable 21,000 jobseekers, up 1,000.  Average ordinary time hourly earnings from the QES increased 3.0 % to $31.00, annually. Annual wage inflation from the LCI increased 0.1 pp to 1.9 %, for all industries and occupations combined.”

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