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

 


NZ jobless rate holds at 6% as participation rises to record

NZ jobless rate unchanged at 6% as participation swells to record

By Paul McBeth

May 7 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand’s unemployment rate was unchanged in the first quarter as the country’s participation rate rose to a record, with faster-than-expected jobs growth that was fuelled by increases in the primary, manufacturing and construction sectors.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6 percent in the three months ended March 31, according to Statistics New Zealand’s household labour force survey, above the forecast 5.9 percent in a Reuters survey of economists. The participation rate rose 0.4 of a percentage point to 69.3 percent, the highest level since the series began in 1986, and ahead of the 68.8 percent forecast.

Employment grew 0.9 percent in the quarter, ahead of the 0.6 percent predicted, and was up 3.7 percent on the year. The number of hours worked rose 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 78.16 million hours in the quarter, and were up an annual 3.3 percent.

“We’re seeing more people in the labour market, with the participation rate surpassing the previous high in late 2008 before the downturn in the labour market,” Diane Ramsay, labour market and households statistics manager at Statistics NZ, said in a statement. “The rise in participation is on the back of more people in work, while the number of people looking for work remains unchanged.”

The New Zealand dollar weakened to 87.04 US cents from 87.24 cents immediately before the report was released at 10:45am.

New Zealand’s economic growth is being spurred by high commodity prices and increasing building activity, prompting the Reserve Bank to embark on a tightening cycle to prevent inflation from accelerating.

Employment growth in the quarter was led by gains in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors, with the number of jobs rising to 156,800 from 149,500 in the December period, while manufacturing jobs rose to 246,000 from 254,000 and construction jobs were up to 196,100 from 185,000.

The labour cost index, which measures wage inflation, rose at a quarterly pace of 0.4 percent across all sectors and including overtime for an annual lift of 1.6 percent. Private sector ordinary time wages rose at a quarterly pace of 0.3 percent, ahead of the 0.2 percent increase in public sector pay.

Unemployment in Auckland rose to 7.3 percent from 6.3 percent in the December period, with a fall in employment and an increase in joblessness. Canterbury’s unemployment rate slipped 0.1 of a percentage point to 3.3 percent, with a pick-up in participation and an increase in jobs.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday announced policy to provide a $3,000 sweetener to unemployment beneficiaries who secure full time work for more than 90 days if they relocate to the Canterbury region to help with the rebuild effort.

Under-employment fell, with 4.1 percent of part-time workers willing and able to take on more hours, from 5.3 percent in the December quarter.

The quarterly employment survey, also released today, showed ordinary time private sector wages rose 0.7 percent to $26.16 in the December quarter, and were up 2.9 percent on an annual basis. Public sector ordinary time wages rose 1.7 percent to $35.86 in the quarter, for a 1.8 percent annual increase.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Gareth Morgan: The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – Revisited

Fresh water quality is the latest area to be in the sights of Gareth Morgan and his research organisation The Morgan Foundation... They found that the fresh water policy was a bit murkier than the Environment Minister let on. More>>

ALSO:

Interest Rates: RBNZ Hikes OCR To 3.5%, ‘Period Of Assessment’ Now Needed

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate as expected, while signalling a pause in rate hikes to assess the impact of moves so far this year. The kiwi dollar sank after Wheeler said its strength was “unjustified” and that the currency could have “a significant fall.” More>>

ALSO:

Fonterra: Canpac Site 'Resize' To Focus More On Paediatrics

Fonterra is looking at realigning its packing operations at Canpac, in the Waikato, to focus more on paediatric nutritionals... The proposed changes could mean around 110 roles may not be required at the site which currently employs 330. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Postie Plus Brand Gets 2nd Chance With Well-Funded Pepkor

The Postie Plus brand is getting a new lease of life after South Africa’s Pepkor bought the failed retailer’s assets out of administration and said it will use its purchasing power to reduce costs of stock and fatten margins. More>>

ALSO:

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Embrace Falling Home Affordability, Says NZIER

Despair over the inability to afford a house is misplaced and should be embraced as an opportunity to invest in more wealth-creating activity, says the principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Shamubeel Eaqub. More>>

Productivity Commission: NZ Regulation Not Keeping Pace

New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news