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Data Flash (New Zealand) ANZ Job Ads - Jan 2000

Data Flash (New Zealand) ANZ Job Ads - January 2000

Key Points

The trend number of job ads fell by 0.5% in January, after a 0.1% decline in December.

The number of January job ads was 10.5% above that recorded a year earlier, down from annual growth rates of 30-40% during the second half of 1999.

This softening in job ad trends is consistent with other labour market indicators, like the employment intentions series included in the QSBO and National Bank business surveys. This pattern seems to reflect a consolidation of labour market activity in Q1/2000 after a very strong employment gain in the December quarter (+1.4% qoq).

The usual correlation between the job ads series and GDP also seems to point to relatively modest activity growth at the beginning of this year, following the acceleration to an underlying growth rate of around 4% during the second half of 1999.

The weakness in the job ads indicator and signs of a slowdown in activity growth in Q1 should be of no concern at this stage. That pattern is not at odds with our forecast of 4% growth over the next 12 months, driven by continued stimulatory monetary conditions, higher fiscal expenditure, as well as an improving world environment.

Nevertheless, indicator trends of this nature, as well as some anecdotal evidence from the business community of a slow start to the year, will make the expected 50 bps cash rate tightening on 15 March another difficult exercise for the RBNZ from a public relations angle.

Ulf Schoefisch. Chief Economist, New Zealand, (64) 9 351 1375



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