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Employment Confidence Falls As Recession Concerns Loom

Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence, December quarter 2022

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index (ECI) fell to 108.0 in the December quarter, from a post-Covid high of 115.2 in the September quarter.

“The outlook for the year ahead in particular has softened in recent months”, said Michael Gordon, Acting Chief Economist for Westpac. Perceptions about future job opportunities and job security accounted for the greatest part of the decline in the December survey.

“While the jobs market is still very tight at the moment, it seems that New Zealanders are taking heed of the growing warnings about a recession this year,” said Mr Gordon.

“Taking the heat out of the labour market is key to the Reserve Bank’s efforts to bring inflation pressures under control,” said Mr Gordon. “With that in mind, employment confidence will be one of the more important indicators of whether monetary policy is having its desired effects in the year ahead.”

“Confidence amongst both public sector and private sector employees has reduced this quarter, with all concerned about future job opportunities in New Zealand, together with personal job security,” observed Imogen Rendall, Market Research Director of McDermott Miller Limited.

“The drop is much more marked amongst public sector workers, down 10.4 points this quarter to 114.0. In contrast, private sector workers have seen an overall drop of 5.5 points from September 2022 to 104.6.”

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A full description of the background and specifications of the survey are attached. The survey was conducted over 1-12 December 2022, with a sample size of 1,559. 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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