Employment confidence remained flat and ''gloomy'' for the
quarter to December, the fifth consecutive quarter of
pessimism outweighing optimism.
The Westpac McDermott Miller employment confidence survey saw
the index rise by a ''whisker'' of just 0.2 points to 99.1,
from the previous quarter, below 100 indicating pessimists
outnumbered optimists, Westpac senior economist Felix
Delbruck said. Employment confidence remained ''at very low
levels'', and households' assessment of their personal job
security had taken a step back, Mr Delbruck said in a
Within the five component series of the index, households'
assessment of current and future job opportunities ''improved
slightly'', but remained ''very downbeat'': a net 60% of
households said jobs were hard to get and a net 6% said they
expected them to get worse this year.
He noted Canterbury continued to be ''the one bright spot in
what was overall still a fairly gloomy report''.
''Canterbury is now the only region where employment
confidence is clearly in optimistic territory,'' Mr Delbruck
The accelerating post-quake rebuilding was clearly boosting
Cantabrians' assessment of job opportunities and their own
job security. But their earnings expectations had stayed
fairly steady, suggesting wage pressures remained low outside
Households' earning expectations had risen for two quarters,
but were still well below levels seen before the 2008-09
recession, he said.
The balance of households reporting actual and expected
increases in their labour earnings also improved slightly,
with a net 24% saying earnings had increased during the past
year (up from 22%), and a net 34% expected them to rise over
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