New Zealanders are feeling less confident about their job
security in the coming year, according to a report out today.
A survey of 1577 people last month revealed a dark cloud of
pessimism hangs over most regions, with Canterbury the
The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index rose
to 99.1 in the December quarter, up slightly from 98.9 in the
September 2012 quarter.
This is the fifth consecutive quarter that the index has been
in pessimistic territory.
"The best thing to be said about today's survey is that it
could have been worse," said Westpac senior economist Felix
Employment confidence remains at very low levels and
households' assessment of their personal job security has
taken a step back, said Delbruck.
Job security sentiment fell back sharply in the quarter, with
only a net 3 per cent (optimists slightly outnumbering
pessimists) now expecting their jobs to become more secure
over the coming year, down from 12 per cent in the previous
Respondents' assessment of current and future job
opportunities improved slightly but remains very downbeat. A
net 60 per cent (down from 63 per cent) said jobs were hard
to get and a net 6 per cent (down from 8 per cent) said they
expected them to get worse over the coming year.
Looking at pay, a net 24 per cent said their earnings had
increased over the past year (up from 22 per cent), and a net
34 per cent expected them to rise over the year ahead, up
from 32 per cent.
Earnings expectations have risen for two quarters but are
still well below levels seen before the 2008/2009 recession.
Delbruck said Canterbury continued to be the one bright spot
in what was overall still a fairly gloomy report. Canterbury
registered an index of 113.5, up from 110.9.
"Canterbury is now the only region where employment
confidence is clearly in optimistic territory," said
"The accelerating post-quake rebuild is clearly boosting
Cantabrians' assessment of job opportunities and their own
"However, their earnings expectations have stayed fairly
steady, suggesting that wage pressures remain low outside
The national index level would have fallen more sharply had
employees in the large Wellington and Canterbury labour
markets not become more optimistic, said Richard Miller from
Auckland's index fell 3.9 points to a pessimistic 96.9, Bay
of Plenty's 5.2 points to 92.5 and Otago's 3.5 to 94.4.
"Loss of confidence by employees in some of New Zealand's
largest and most important labour markets has restrained a
further lift in the national index," Miller said.
Any recovery in employment confidence may have stalled, he
Those in the private sector continue to be more optimistic
than their public sector counterparts.
The Private Sector Employment Confidence Index fell from
101.4 to 100.3, while the Public Sector Index rose from 96.3
The survey was conducted between December 1 and 10.
An index number greater than 100 indicates that optimists
outnumber pessimists. The margin of error in the survey is
2.5 per cent with a 95 per cent confidence interval.
The index summarises responses to five questions:
1. Do you think jobs are plentiful or hard to get?
2. Do you think job opportunities in New Zealand in a year's
time compared to now will be more plentiful, harder to get or
about the same?
3. Do you earn more, less, or the same in your paid work now
compared to this time last year?
4. Do you expect to be earning more, less or the same in your
paid work this time next year?
5. Would you say your job is likely to be more or less secure
over the coming year than now?
- Ben Chapman-smith of nzherald.co.nz