Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Kiwi dollar falls as jobs report shows falling participation

UPDATE: Kiwi dollar falls as jobs report shows falling participation, shrinking employment

By Paul McBeth

Feb. 7 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand dollar shed half a cent against the greenback after a fall in the headline unemployment rate masked figures showing kiwis quit the workforce in droves and employment shrank in the final three months of 2012.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in the December quarter from a 13-year high as people stopped looking for work, according to Statistics New Zealand's household labour force survey. The participation rate fell a record 1.2 percentage points to 67.2 percent, the lowest level since September 2004, while employment shrank 1 percent.

Economists were expecting a participation rate of 68.5 percent and quarterly jobs growth of 0.4 percent. The number of people not in the labour force climbed 3.8 percent in the quarter.

"The labour market is softer than what we would have thought," said Robin Clements, economist at UBS. "The surprise for this quarter was another drop in employment, driven by part-time."

New Zealand's labour market has been struggling to convert hiring intentions into actual jobs as the economy slowly recovers, and the headline unemployment rate has been a bone of contention among economists who say it's out of synch with other data. Forecasts have been surprised at the level of unemployment in the three quarters before today's release, which was slightly below the consensus.

The kiwi fell as low as 83.79 US cents from 84.17 cents immediately before the release and recently traded at 83.87 cents.

Westpac Banking market strategist Imre Speizer said the reaction in the currency was "probably overdone" with today's figures showing little change in the overall labour market.

"The labour market is still weak - that's the story," he said.

Today's figures showed full-time employment grew 0.4 percent to 1.71 million in the quarter, while the number of part-time jobs plunged 6 percent to 486,000.

Total jobs were down an annual 1.4 percent, while unemployment was up 6.8 percent from a year earlier. Actual hours worked declined 0.1 percent to 73. 14 million hours, and was down an annual 1 percent.

The annual decline in jobs was led by a 19 percent plunge in self-employment, which has been falling from a peak in December 2011.

Otago had the lowest unemployment rate across the regions at 4.3 percent, with Southland at 4.6 percent and Canterbury at 4.9 percent. Northland had the highest rate at 9.5 percent. Auckland's unemployment rate improved to 7.2 percent, while Wellington's rose to 7.9 percent.

Youth aged 15 to 24 not in employment, education or training (NEET), a target demographic for the government, rose to 14.2 percent, the highest level since March 2011, though coming at the end of calendar year when programmes typically end.

The number of jobless people fell to 284,500 from 294,900 a quarter earlier, and was up from 261,300 at the end of 2011. The number of people discouraged from seeking working because they believe they lack the appropriate skills rose 2,400 to 10,100 in the three month period.

Underemployment, which counts those people in part-time work wanting more hours, fell to 111,000 from 113,300 in the quarter, and was up from 105,100 a year earlier.

New Zealand's unemployment rate is now the 14th lowest among developed nations, below Canada's 7.2 percent and above Israel's 6.7 percent.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Sweet Health: Sugary Drinks Banned From Hospitals And Health Boards

All hospitals and DHBs are expected to kick sugary drinks out of their premises. University of Auckland researcher, Dr Gerhard Sundborn who also heads public health advocacy group “FIZZ”, says he welcomes the initiative. More>>


NASA: Evidence Of Liquid Water On Today's Mars

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. More>>


Bird Brains: Robins Can Just Be Generally Clever

Research from Victoria University of Wellington has revealed that birds may possess a ‘general intelligence’ similar to humans, with some individuals able to excel in multiple cognitive tests. More>>


Psa-V: Positive Result On Whangarei Kiwifruit Orchard

Kiwifruit Vine Health (KVH) has received a Psa-V positive test result on Hort16A and male vines on a kiwifruit orchard in Whangarei. This is the first confirmed case of Psa-V on an orchard in the Whangarei region. More>>

Regional Accents: Are Microbes The Key To Geographical Differences In Wine?

A new study of six of New Zealand’s major wine-growing regions has found that differences in flavour and aroma of wine from different areas may depend more on microbes than was previously thought. More>>


Science: AgResearch To Cut Science Staff In Areas Of 'Reduced Demand'

“We are therefore consulting with our staff from today on a proposal to reduce science staff in areas of shrinking demand. Combined with recruitment planned in areas of growing demand, this would mean a net reduction of 15 scientists and 41 technicians at AgResearch in the 2015/16 year." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news