NZ annual jobs growth ‘broadly positive’, jobless rate falls   9 Feb 2012

Paul McBeth

New Zealand’s annual jobs growth shows the economy is moving in the right direction, with the unemployment rate falling to a 21-month low on a sharp rise in the number of part-time workers.

The unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 6.3 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31, from 6.6 percent the prior quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand’s household labour force survey. That’s more than the 6.5 percent rate picked in a Reuters survey of economists, and was bolstered by a 3 percent rise in part-timers to 517,000 and a 0.2 percentage point decline in the participation rate to a 12-month low 68.2 percent.

The number of people employed rose 0.1 percent to 2.221 million in the December quarter, missing the 0.4 percent growth forecast in the Reuters survey, and has grown 1.6 percent on an annual basis.

“The trend is broadly positive, and suggests the economy is pushing forward,” said Bank of New Zealand economist Doug Steel. “It gives us some confidence this trend will continue.”

The falling headline jobless rate masked a 0.8 percent decline in full-time workers to 1.703 million, the lowest number since December 2010, and a 1.4 percent fall in the total weekly hours worked to 74.3 million. The number of people not in the labour force rose to 1.107 million in the quarter from 1.095 million in the September period.

BNZ’s Steel said the quarterly movements in the underlying data were within the error of margin.

The data follows Tuesday’s quarterly employment survey, which showed 0.6 percent growth in full-time equivalent (FTE) positions to 1.34 million, and a 0.5 percent rise in total filled jobs to 1.7 million.

Last month, the Westpac-McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index showed the number of people pessimistic about the labour market outnumbered optimists for the first time since June 2009, though business confidence surveys show firms are more upbeat about their hiring intentions in the coming year.

Retail trade and accommodation staff numbers rose to 335,500 in the quarter from 324,900 the prior period, while manufacturing jobs increased to 256,000 from 244,700.

Statistics New Zealand introduced a new series for youth aged 15 to 24 not in employment, education or training (NEET), which rose 0.7 percentage points to 13.1 percent in the December quarter. As a comparison, the NEET rate was between 10.2 percent and 12 percent from March 2004 and December 2008, peaking at 15.4 percent in December 2009.

Youth joblessness improved for 20- to 24-year-olds, with the unemployment rate falling to 11.9 percent from 12.2 percent, though the 15- to 19-year-old jobless rate rose to 24.2 percent from 23.4 percent.

The Taranaki region showed a marked improvement in employment, with the jobless rate falling to 3.8 percent, the lowest in the country, form 5.2 percent in the September quarter. Wellington unemployment rose to 7.2percent in the December period from 6 percent. The Bay of Plenty and Northland regions had the worst rate at 8.3 percent.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate was 12th lowest among developed economies, behind Israel’s 5.6 percent but ahead of the Czech Republic’s 6.7 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

First steps taken towards flag referendum

29 Oct 2014 News
New Zealand Government Rt Hon John KeyPrime Minister Hon Bill EnglishDeputy Prime Minister 29 October 2014 Cabinet has agreed on the... more

NZ to join global crackdown on tax evasion

29 Oct 2014 News
Revenue Minister Todd McClay today announced New Zealand’s timetable for participation in a global automatic exchange of... more

Business

NZ dollar holds gains as traders await central bank meetings

28 Oct 2014 Business News
By Paul McBeth Oct. 28 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand dollar held gains in the local trading session as traders remain cautious... more

Orion Health seeks up to $150mln, eschews forecasts

28 Oct 2014 Business News
By Fiona Rotherham Oct. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Orion Health Group, which develops software systems for patient health management, wants... more

Living

Duo wins MKR NZ by just one point

29 Oct 2014 Food & Wine
Neena and Belinda have won the first season of My Kitchen Rules New Zealand. The "Modern Day Hippies" beat Aaron and Heather in... more

MKRNZ - The WeedEaters are cleaning up

28 Oct 2014 Food & Wine
Modern Day Hippies Neena and Belinda breezed through the semi finals last night on My Kitchen Rules New Zealand and no one could be... more

Property

Goodman Property sells three Christchurch sites for $18.9M

28 Oct 2014 Property
By Suze Metherell Oct. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Goodman Property Trust, the biggest listed property investor by market value, sold two... more

Double-digit rate increases loom

24 Oct 2014 Property
Aucklanders living in the ‘hottest suburbs’ could be the big losers, while businesses will come out winners Rate rises... more

Migration

New Zealand Named The Best Place For Raising Children

24 Oct 2014 Migration
New Zealand has been named the best place to raise a child in the Raising Children Abroad annual league table. According to the HSBC... more

Desperate employers keeping overstayers

24 Oct 2014 Migration
Desperate employers seeking to fill job shortages are keeping migrant workers who previously held a work visa in New Zealand... more

Travel

Air New Zealand's GENIUS Hobbit themed safety video

24 Oct 2014 Travel & Tourism
Giving flyers an Unexpected Journey! Elijah Wood and Sir Peter Jackson star in 'epic' Hobbit themed Air New Zealand safety video Air... more

Travel 'interns wanted' to tour 2000km of NZ

24 Oct 2014 Travel & Tourism
Forget a summer internship of fetching coffee and photocopying - a travel company is offering a $30,000, 10-day, 2000km tour of New... more

Sport

NZ Rugby League: Matagi to debut against Samoa

29 Oct 2014 Rugby League
Vodafone Warriors prop Suaia Matagi is poised to play his first test for the NZ Kiwis against his old team-mates, Toa Samoa, at... more

Cancer Society named official charity for Cricket World Cup

28 Oct 2014 Cricket
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Cancer Society named official charity in New Zealand for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 The Cancer Society has... more

Columns

The return of Occupy London: this time it’s truly political

28 Oct 2014 Opinion
Article - Adam Parsons The return of Occupy London: this time it’s truly political by Adam Parsons22 October 2014more

Gordon Campbell on the TPP finishing line, and Amazon’s woes

28 Oct 2014 Column
Column - Gordon Campbell Gordon Campbell on the TPP finishing line, and Amazon’s woes by Gordon Campbell If the Trans Pa... more

Kiwi Success

New Ambassador to France appointed

28 Oct 2014 Appointments
Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Murray McCully has appointed diplomat James Kember as New Zealand’s next... more

Jim Hickey hangs up his umbrella

24 Oct 2014 People
Veteran weathercaster Jim Hickey has announced his retirement today, saying is was a tough decision. "I feel like I'm subbing off at... more

Recruitment

More than 600 take up 3K to Christchurch jobs

28 Oct 2014 Recruitment
Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the Government’s 3K to Christchurch scheme is a winner with 633 unemployed people... more

UK ambulance service poaches Kiwi paramedics

24 Oct 2014 Recruitment
New Zealand paramedics are being poached by Britain's busiest ambulance service. Interviews were held in Auckland on Friday and... more