New Zealand's unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to a
13-year high as the pool of jobs shrank for a second straight
quarter with a flat labour market in Auckland and fewer
The New Zealand dollar tumbled about half a US cent.
The unemployment rate rose half a percentage point to 7.3
percent in the September quarter, the highest level since
June 1999, according to Statistics New Zealand's household
labour force survey.
Economists surveyed by Reuters were picking a 0.1 percentage
point fall to 6.7 percent.
The number of people employed fell 0.4 percent to 2.22
million in its second quarterly decline, while the
participation rate was unchanged at 68.4 percent.
"The unemployment rate has stayed between 6.4 percent and 6.8
percent over the past two years, and has now risen for the
third quarter in a row," industry and labour statistics
manager Diane Ramsay said in a statement.
The New Zealand dollar dropped to 81.93 US cents after the
figures were released, from 82.56 cents immediately before.
New Zealand's labour market has been struggling to recover
from the nation's deepest recession in two decades, with
employers more keen on taking on part-timers and casual staff
than hiring permanent full-time workers.
Just today, Dynamic Solutions of Christchurch said it will
shed 40-60 jobs as it winds down its contract manufacturing
Auckland's unemployment rate rose 1.3 percentage points to
8.6 percent, with the number of people employed in New
Zealand's biggest city at 691,200, the fewest since June last
Full-time employment shrank 0.8 percent to 1.7 million while
part-timers rose 1.4 percent to 519,000.
The number of jobless people, which includes people who might
not be actively seeking work, rose to 294,900 from 271,200,
while underemployment, which counts people who are part-time
but want to work more hours, rose to 113,300 from 109,500.
Workers in professional, scientific, technical,
administrative and support services recorded the biggest
decline in jobs, falling to 249,400 from 259,300 in the June
quarter, while manufacturing shed 6,100 jobs to 240,400. The
number of people working in construction fell to 166,600 from
Total hours worked shrank 0.8 percent to a seasonally
adjusted 73.18 million and were down 2 percent from a year
Youths aged 15 to 24 not in employment, education or training
(NEET), a target demographic for the government, rose to 13.4
percent from 13.1 percent in the June quarter.
Canterbury's labour market continued to improve, with the
unemployment rate down 5.2 percent, from 6.5 percent in the
June quarter. Waikato and the Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough,
West Coast regions were the only other areas to show a lower
Northland recorded the highest unemployment rate at 10
Today's figures come after the quarterly employment survey
showed total filled jobs rose 0.3 percent to a seasonally
adjusted 1.715 million, bolstered by a pick-up in part-time
workers and a decline in full-time equivalents to 1.35