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Jobs Easier To Find, But Workers Still Cautious About Their Prospects

Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence, September quarter 2021 

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index rose 1.8 points in the September quarter, to a level of 105.7. The Index is 2.9 points higher than it was at the end of 2019, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michael Gordon, Acting Chief Economist for Westpac, noted that the increase was driven by another strong lift in people’s perceptions of current job openings. “Even with the latest lockdown, employers are aware of the severe skill shortages that have developed in recent times and have remained in hiring mode.”

“Expectations for earnings growth and perceptions about job security were down in September, but only marginally,” noted Mr Gordon. “That’s notable as the survey was held during a time of higher Covid Alert Levels. This indicates that workers remain optimistic about the outlook for economic conditions and the demand for labour.”

The results were varied by region. “Auckland recorded a 3.5 point rise despite the Alert Level 4 lockdown during the survey period,” said Mr Gordon. “In contrast, the West Coast and Otago saw a drop in confidence, which may reflect the impact of the loss of the trans-Tasman bubble on these tourism-heavy regions.”

“Confidence amongst employees working in the public sector has risen this quarter (an increase of 6.1 points to 110.0), after a drop in the previous quarter. This compares with private sector employees whose confidence has remained almost unchanged from last quarter (a drop of 0.8 points to 104.2),” observed Imogen Rendall, Market Research Director of McDermott Miller Limited.

“Concerns over job security and a more cautious view of future earnings appear to be impacting confidence of those in the private sector, while those in the public sector see the current and future job market in a more positive light,” commented Ms Rendall.

A full description of the background and specifications of the survey are attached. The survey was conducted over 1-11 September 2021, with a sample size of 1,557. An index number over 100 indicates that optimists outnumber pessimists. The margin of error of the survey is 2.5%.

Acknowledgement

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index is owned by McDermott Miller Limited. Westpac McDermott Miller should be acknowledged as the source when citing the Employment Confidence Survey and Index. Graphs supplied may be reproduced by the news media provided the Westpac McDermott Miller logo remains inset.

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