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


NZ jobless rate holds at 6.5% after 1st-qtr revision

NZ jobless rate holds at 6.5% in 2Q after first-quarter revised lower

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 4 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s unemployment rate has declined this year as businesses kept staff on deck amid an improving economic recovery.

The jobless rate was unchanged at 6.5% in the three months ended June 30 after being revised down 0.1 percentage point in the March quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey. That’s lower than the 6.6% forecast in a Reuters survey and is down 0.4 percentage points in the past year.

The number of people employed was steady at 2.21 million, and has grown 2% over the past 12 months. Labour force participation fell 0.2 percentage points to 68.4%, as expected, with more people becoming workers.

“Although key labour market indicators remain flat when compared with the March 2011 quarter, annual changes in the number of unemployed and employed show a continued strengthening of the New Zealand labour market,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said in a statement.

The data comes after wage data earlier this week was slightly weaker than expected, easing pressure on the Reserve Bank to aggressively hike interest rates. Before today’s announcement, traders were betting the central bank will lift rates 88 basis points over the coming 12 months, down from more than 100 basis points last week, according to the Overnight Index Swap curve.

Last week, Governor Alan Bollard warned of rising wage pressures, though he talked down the threat of headline inflation, saying the underlying figure was within his target band of between 1% and 3%.

The faster than expected recovery will likely let Bollard remove the emergency stimulus he provided when he cut the official cash rate half a percentage point to 2.5% in March as he dealt with the fall-out of the February earthquake.

Still, Bollard will be watching the rebuild in Canterbury, with today’s data showing an additional 6,400 people were employed in the construction sector at 171,100.

The data captured the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes, with the number of hours worked falling 1.3% in the 12 months through June. The unemployment rate rose 0.9 percentage points over the year, but was still lower than the national figure at 5.7%.

Education and training sectors added almost 10,000 in the quarter at 206,000, echoing the Quarterly Employment Survey’s findings earlier this week. The retail sector continued to struggle in the period, shedding 22,000 people to employ 325,800 in retail trade and accommodation.

Total hours worked in the quarter rose 1.6% in the June quarter to a seasonally adjusted 74.2 million hours, that’s the most since June 2008 before the global financial crisis plunged the world into recession.

Full-time employment rose 0.2% in the quarter, while part-time employed declined 0.1%. Full-time employment makes up about 77% of the labour force.

Still, youth unemployment remained significantly higher than the national figure, with 27.6% of 15- to 19-year-olds unemployed and 11.2% of 20- to 24-year-olds out of work.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate was the 12th lowest among developed nations, equal with the Czech Republic.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Maritime Union: Deepening Supply Chain Crisis Requires Action

Maritime Union of New Zealand National Secretary Craig Harrison says the global COVID-19 pandemic exposed pre-existing weaknesses in our logistics sector, and created enormous problems... More>>

Air New Zealand: Employees Recognised With $1,000 Share Award

The efforts Air New Zealand employees made during one of the airline’s toughest years will be recognised via an award of $1,000 worth of company shares to all permanent employees... More>>

Consumer NZ: Bank Complaints On The Rise, Survey Shows

Nearly one in five Kiwis had a problem with their bank in the past year, Consumer NZ’s latest satisfaction survey finds. Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said the number of bank customers reporting problems had jumped to 18%, up from 11% in 2020... More>>

Mercury: Enters Into Binding Agreements To Acquire Trustpower’s Retail Business

Mercury NZ Limited (Mercury) has announced that it has entered into binding agreements with Trustpower Limited (Trustpower, NZX:TPW) to acquire Trustpower’s retail business for NZ$441 million... More>>


ASB: New Zealanders Missing Out On Hundreds Of Millions In KiwiSaver Government Contributions

New Zealanders have just over a week to ensure they’re eligible for the maximum annual government KiwiSaver contribution... More>>

Stats NZ: GDP Climbs 1.6 Percent In March 2021 Quarter Following December Dip

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 1.6 percent in the March 2021 quarter, following a 1.0 percent fall in the December 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. "After an easing of economic activity in the December quarter, we’ve seen broad-based growth in the first quarter of 2021... More>>