New Zealand's unemployment rate fell to a five-year low in
the June quarter as employment growth in Canterbury fuelled
the labour market. The kiwi dollar fell after the figures
The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in the three months
ended June 30, from a revised 5.9 percent in the March
quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand's household
labour force survey.
That's the lowest rate since March 2009, and below the 5.8
percent forecast in a Reuters survey of economists.
The participation rate fell 0.3 of a percentage point to 68.9
percent, below expectations, as the workforce remained static
and the population grew.
Employment grew 0.4 percent in the quarter, below the 0.7
percent pace predicted by economists and was up 3.7 percent
on an annual basis. A busy construction sector continued to
drive jobs growth, particularly in Canterbury where the
country's second-biggest city, Christchurch, is being
Canterbury's unemployment rate of 2.8 percent was the lowest
across all regions, and employment growth was largely in
construction and retail and accommodation service.
"Over the year, Canterbury contributed the most to national
employment growth, accounting for almost half," Statistics NZ
said in its report.
New Zealand employment confidence is at its highest since
before the 2008 global financial crisis as the nation's
economic growth spurs firms to take on more staff after a
period of relatively high unemployment.
Construction jobs rose to 205,700 in the June quarter from
196,100 in March, public administration and safety positions
rose to 132,700 from 119,300, and education and training
employment rose to 201,100 from 190,400.
That offset a drop in agriculture, forestry and fishing jobs
to 138,600 from 156,800, and a decline in retail trade and
accommodation services dropped to 349,100 from 364,700.
The seasonally adjusted number of hours worked rose 0.3
percent to 78.5 million in the quarter for a 4.8 percent
The kiwi fell as low as 84.27 US cents after the release from
84.53 cents immediately before.
The labour cost index, which measures wage inflation, rose at
a quarterly pace of 0.5 percent across all sectors including
overtime, and at an annual pace of 1.7 percent.
Private sector ordinary time wages rose 0.6 percent in the
quarter and 1.8 percent in the year.
That was bolstered by the 50 cent increase in the minimum
wage to $14.25 an hour from April 1, which Statistics NZ said
resulted in a 17 percent rise in all private sector ordinary
time wage compared to what would have been a 15 percent gain
if the increase hadn't taken effect.
Unemployment in the Auckland region fell to 6.2 percent in
the quarter from 7.3 percent in March, while Wellington's
rate was down to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent. Northland had
the highest jobless rate at 8.3 percent.
The underemployment rate edged up to 4.2 percent of part-time
workers willing and able to take on more hours from 4.1
percent in March.
The quarterly employment survey, also released today, showed
ordinary time private sector wages rose 0.5 percent in the
quarter to $26.29 per hour, for a 3.1 percent annual gain.
Public sector ordinary time fell 1.6 percent to $35.28, for a
1.3 percent annual increase.
• The number of people employed increased by 10,000 people.
• The employment rate fell 0.1 percentage points, to 65.0 per
• The number of people unemployed decreased by 9,000 people.
• The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.6 per
• The labour force participation rate decreased 0.3
percentage points, to 68.9 per cent.