Employment confidence for the three months ended June is
back to levels last seen before the Global Financial Crisis,
the latest Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index
At the end of June, the index stood at 109.9 points, compared
with 108.4 at the end of March.
Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said while the
economy had been gradually accelerating for a few years, it
was only more recently New Zealanders had observed a
sustained improvement in the jobs market.
''The June quarter survey suggests the labour market has
continued to improve,'' he said.
Otago was one of four regions to report a fall in employment
confidence in June, down 0.8 points to 102.5.
Nelson/Marlborough/Westland was down 4.1, Gisborne/Hawkes Bay
was down 0.5 and Waikato was down 17.1.
Auckland and Canterbury dominated the confidence index, with
Auckland on 117.3, up 4.2, and Canterbury on 115, up one.
Mr Stephens said Canterbury had been a star performer over
the past two years, given the amount of work generated by the
Recent surveys had shown the rest of the country was starting
to close the gap.
In the June survey, Auckland overtook Canterbury as the most
Auckland was the only region where confidence was above its
historic average, he said.
The survey was now 10 years old and more or less covered a
complete economic cycle.
''Before leaping to any conclusions about regional
disparities, we need to keep the starting points in mind.
"Auckland's unemployment rate rose by more than the rest of
the country during the recession and has been slow to improve
since then,'' Mr Stephens said.
Given Auckland accounted for about a third of the nation's
workforce, any evidence the region was no longer
underperforming would be welcomed, he said.
The survey was conducted from June 1 to 10 with a sample size
A index number above 100 indicates optimists outnumber
Within the index's five components, there were three
increases and two falls.
Households' perceptions of current job opportunities were the
biggest contributor to the rise in the index, rising from a
net -32% to -26.5%, the least negative reading since December
Expectations of job opportunities a year from now fell from a
net -3.4% to -41.%.
The net percentage reporting a rise in earnings over the past
year fell slightly to 28.4% after seven straight quarters of
Expectations for an increase in earnings over the coming year
rose from a net 31.1% to 34.2%.
Expectations from respondents for their own job security rose
from a net 16.8% to 17.6%, the highest since September 2009.