New Zealand unemployment dives to 3.9%

By Leith van Onselen

Statistics New Zealand has released its labour force data for the September quarter, with the unemployment rate falling by 0.5% to 3.9%. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the June 2008 quarter when it was 3.8%.

Below are the key points from the release:

  • Unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate fell to 11.3 percent.
  • Employment rate rose to 68.3 percent.
  • Filled jobs rose 0.3 percent.
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings rose to $31.34.
  • Wage rates increased 1.8 percent annually.

And below is the summary table:

As shown above, employment rose by 1.1% in the September quarter to be up 2.8% over the year, whereas the labour force participation rate rose by 0.2% to 71.1% (flat over the year).

Trend jobs growth has been strong:

Total weekly hours worked also rose by 2.2% in the year to September.

Meanwhile, the labour underutilisation rate (unemployment and underemployment combined) fell by 0.7% over the September quarter and by 0.8% over the year to 11.3%.

However, the news with respect to employee earnings was mixed. Wage inflation was just 1.8% over the year, whereas average ordinary time earnings rose by 2.9%.

Finally, here’s how New Zealand’s unemployment rate (3.9%) compares against Australia’s (5.0%):

NZ’s labour market is still much stronger.

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