Unemployment and underutilisation rates both fall

Elias Hubbard
Мая 2, 2018

In the notoriously volatile regional figures, Otago had an unemployment rate of 4.7%, up from 4.5% in December.

Across New Zealand, Statistics NZ estimates that 340,000 people are in a position to take on more hours and would like to, however this fell by 5000 over the quarter.

But annual wage inflation remained static, unchanged at 1.8% year-on-year.

According to Statistics New Zealand (StatsNZ), the nation's unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in the March quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, leaving it at the lowest level since the December quarter of 2008.

New Hampshire's three metro areas all had unemployment rates below three percent in March. It was expected to remain at 4.5%, according to economists polled by Reuters.

The level of labour available, as measured by the seasonally adjusted underutilisation rate, has also dropped - from 12.2% in the December quarter to 11.9%.

Total unemployment fell by 3,000 to 119,000. The employment rate rose to 70% and the labour force participation rate rose to 73.5%.

In absolute terms, the size of the labour force increased by 12,000 to 2.738 million.

The underutilization rate fell to 11.9 percent, down from 12.2 percent in the December 2017 quarter, Attewell said, adding there were nearly 340,000 people with the desire and potential to work more, though this was 5,000 fewer than in the December 2017 quarter.

Underutilisation included people who had a job but wanted to work more hours, those available to work but were not looking, or those looking for work but were not available to start within the next month.

"With a solid outlook for employment, we expect that capacity pressures within the existing labour market will gradually intensify, with the unemployment rate moving towards 4% by the end of next year", ASB said in a note on Monday.

The unemployment rate has dipped below 6 per cent for the first time in a decade on the back of robust economic growth.

"Notably, the share of workers receiving no pay increase at all has been trending higher in the last few years, and is now at its highest since 2010, which was in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis", Gordon said.

ASB senior economist Mark Smith said given the enhanced focus of the labour market in the new Reserve Bank Policy Targets Agreement with the Government, it was encouraging to see few signs of quarterly volatility in the household labour force survey.

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