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

Budget to invest $244 million in schools

14 Apr 2015 Education
Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye say next month’s Budget will provide $244 million... more

Prince Harry to visit centres across New Zealand

13 Apr 2015 News
Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key released today further details on Prince Harry’s visit to New Zealand in May. “Prince... more

Business

World Bank says sharp slowdown in China would hurt NZ, Australia

14 Apr 2015 Business News By Tina Morrison
April 14 (BusinessDesk) - A sharp slowdown in China would hurt commodity exporting countries like New Zealand and Australia and... more

Cubic Defence NZ targets corporate, military sales

13 Apr 2015 Business News By Fiona Rotherham
  Cubic Defence NZ targets corporate along with military and security customers April 10 (BusinessDesk) - High-tech exporter... more

Living

ANZAC to be commemorated in UK - with massive waiata

13 Apr 2015 ANZAC
Thousands of Australians, New Zealanders and Britons will gather in London on 25 April 2015 to mark the Centenary of the ANZAC... more

Gordon Campbell on the demise of Campbell Live

10 Apr 2015 Entertainment
  The imminent axeing of Campbell Live has been the inevitable outcome of a mindset which considers only (a) declining ratings... more

Property

NZ house prices rise 8% in March, led by 13% Auckland jump

14 Apr 2015 Property By Tina Morrison
April 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential property prices rose in March, led by Auckland where housing supply isn't meeting... more

NZ property values rise at fastest pace in 9 months in March: QV

1 Apr 2015 Property By Suze Metherell
  NZ property values rise at fastest pace in 9 months in March: QV April 1 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand residential property... more

Migration

PM plays down claim war criminals are living in NZ

2 Mar 2015 Migration
Prime Minister John Key says he is not aware of any suspected war criminals from the former Yugoslavia in New Zealand. The claim that... more

NZ migration rose to record in 2014

30 Jan 2015 Migration By Tina Morrison
  NZ migration surged to record in 2014, helped by robust economy Jan. 30 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand migration surged to a... more

Travel

Foss welcomes agreement for rental vehicle code

17 Mar 2015 Travel & Tourism
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss is welcoming a move by the rental vehicle industry to establish a Code of Best Practice to... more

Productive discussions on Queenstown’s tourism workforce

6 Mar 2015 Travel & Tourism
Sustainable workforce solutions were at the centre of discussions between Government Ministers and tourism industry representatives... more

Sport

Black Sticks win Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

13 Apr 2015 Sport
The Black Sticks Men have won the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in thrilling style with a 3-1 shoot-out victory over Australia. The... more

Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race 2015: Kiwi bros part of Oxford victory

13 Apr 2015 Sport
Two New Zealand brothers helped the Oxford University rowers win over their Cambridge counterparts in the annual boat race on London's... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on UE pass rates & university dropout rates

14 Apr 2015 Opinion
Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been ... more

Gordon Campbell on a union victory in the fast food industry

9 Apr 2015 Opinion By Gordon Campbell
  Gordon Campbell on a union victory in the fast food industry Good to have a reminder of why trade unions are still essential... more

Kiwi Success

Smiths City names 'turnaround specialist' Roy Campbell CEO

14 Apr 2015 Appointments
April 14 (BusinessDesk) - Smiths City Group, the Christchurch-based retail chain, named Roy Campbell as chief executive, replacing... more

Appointments to Lotteries Commission

8 Apr 2015 Appointments
  Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced the reappointment of Judy Kirk as the Presiding Member (Chair) of the... more

Recruitment

NZ Government moves to strengthen employment standards

26 Mar 2015 Recruitment
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse today announced a package of measures to strengthen enforcement of minimum... more

RESEND: 63% of Warehouse permanent staff now on career wage

20 Mar 2015 Recruitment By Fiona Rotherham
  RESEND: Warehouse says 63% of permanent staff now on 'career retailer wage' (Fixes fourth paragraph to show Warehouse is... more