The most important category of numbers in today's
quarterly survey of business opinion would be those relating to
the labour market, BNZ senior economist Craig Ebert said
The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) will
release its quarterly survey this morning.
Economists and others regard it as the most important
domestic report out this week.
Mr Ebert said it would appear the labour market was ''going
Figures out from Trade Me Jobs showed job advertising for the
March quarter was up 21% on a year ago, following as 17%
annual gain in December.
''If this can be taken as a proxy for job security, then it's
looking very good indeed for households.''
From the point of the business sector, the implication was
staffing constraints. Booming immigration would help in that
respect but it had been outpaced by the strength of demand
for employees, he said.
''The survey staffing constraint variables will be worth
their weight in gold. They have already crept up into a zone
indicative of a modest tightening in the labour market
The BNZ expected the reported difficulty in finding staff in
today's survey - whether for the skilled or unskilled - would
become more noticeable. Following the logic, an increase in
wage and salary inflation could not be too far off, Mr Ebert
The labour market data would probably be more informative of
core inflation trends and risks than would immediate pricing
intentions regarding products and services.
The latter was still being suppressed by the high New Zealand
dollar and that should be born in mind when reading the data.
There was a good chance today's survey result would be even
stronger than it was in January, he said.
''In terms of headline numbers, it's worth bearing in mind
seasonal impacts are normally depressing for the March
quarter. This is presumably as the festive rush is fading
from the system.
"And so even if net confidence stalls at around last
quarter's highly creditable 52 points, it would imply a
further gain in seasonally adjusted terms.''
The survey was expected to log strong business confidence in
the general economic outlook but there would also be interest
in the business activity and capacity measures, he said.
Also out today were the Crown accounts and focus would be on
whether tax revenue was making up for early lost ground due
to timing issues.
The path to surpluses looked as assured as ever and the
latest Government view would come in the May 15 Budget.
In Australia, job advertisements have continued to rise,
suggesting stronger labour demand and improving conditions in
the job market.
Jobs ads rose 1.4% in March, following a 4.7% jump in
February, according to ANZ's monthly job ad series.
Internet job ads rose 1.3% while newspaper ads bounced 4.5%.
Advertising had risen for five consecutive months in trend
terms, the report said.
ANZ chief economist Ivan Colhoun said there was now clearer
evidence that labour demand was strengthening.
''Each of the main job ads/vacancies measures have risen this
year, while some have been improving since the end of last
Advertising had strengthened in key industries including
construction, education and health, he said.
''This suggests the peak in the unemployment rate may be
close, although the rate of improvement in job advertising
does not suggest a rapid fall in the unemployment rate,'' Mr
Overseas, the United States reporting season starts today
with Alcoa. Wells Fargo and JP Morgan report on Friday.
Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said
expectations were low. Consensus expectations were for
earnings growth of just 1.2% and revenue growth of 2.7% -
compared with earnings growth of close to 10% for the final
quarter of last year.
The best performers were expected to be the telco and
consumer discretionary sectors, while energy and financial
sectors were forecast to lag.
The weather was one reason the quarter was likely to be
lacklustre, he said.
''A ratio of negative pre-announcements to positive ones is
currently running at six to one. A number of companies have
singled out the long, disruptive winter as having been a drag