Unemployment falls to lowest level since 2008

NZ Herald staff,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 2 August 2017, 11:56AM
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Unemployment is at the lowest level since 2008, new figures reveal.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 per cent in the June 2017 quarter (down from 4.9 per cent in the March 2017 quarter) Stats NZ says - the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008. That was the start of the global financial crisis, when it was 4.4 per cent, and National had just been elected to office.

"In the June 2017 quarter, 3,000 fewer people were unemployed," labour market and households senior manager Diane Ramsay said.

Unemployed people are those who are available to work, and who had either actively sought work or had a new job to start within the next four weeks.

The employment rate fell to 66.7 per cent (4,000 fewer people employed) in the June 2017 quarter, down from 67.1 per cent in the March 2017 quarter. The drop in employment follows six quarters in which employment rose.

New Zealand's working-age population increased 0.5 per cent in the June 2017 quarter (up 20,000 people) to 3,801,000. This is the first quarter since September 2015 that employment growth was below population growth.

"The unemployment rate for women fell to 4.9 per cent, with 10,000 fewer women unemployed - the lowest it's been since March 2009," Ramsay said.

In contrast, the male unemployment rate rose to 4.7 per cent (7,000 more men unemployed).

In the year to the June 2017 quarter the labour cost index increased 1.7 percent, up from 1.6 percent in the year to March 2017.

The recent minimum wage increase contributed to wage inflation in the latest quarter. Changes to carers' wages from the Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill (2017) took effect on 1 July 2017, the start of the September 2017 quarter.

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