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Financial News: New Zealand Jobless Rate Falls To 4.5% In

New Zealand Jobless Rate Falls To 4.5% In Q4

02/06/2018 - 18:15:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The jobless rate in New Zealand came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday.

That beat expectations for 4.7 percent after coming in at 4.6 percent in the three months prior.

Employment was up 0.5 percent on quarter and 3.7 percent on year. Both exceeded expectations for an increase of0.4 percent on quarter and 3.6 percent on year following the 2.2 percent quarterly increase and the 4.2 percent annual jump in Q3.

Nearly one-quarter of employment growth came from 25-29-year-olds, while just over one-fifth came from the 30-34-year-old age group.

Over the year, employment growth, as measured by the Household Labor Force Survey, was highest in the professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support services industry, up 8.5 percent (25,900 people).

One-third of the annual growth in the professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support services industry came from Wellington, the majority coming from architects, engineers, and related technicians.

The participation rate was 71.0 percent - in line with expectations and down from 71.1 in the previous three months.

"This quarter's unemployment rate is the lowest since the December 2008 quarter, when it was 4.4 percent," labor market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. "However, the underutilization rate was just over 12 percent -reflecting about 340,000 New Zealanders with potential to work more. This measure is just as important as the unemployment rate."

The unemployment rate for the December 2017 quarter remains considerably above New Zealand's lowest unemployment rate, which was 3.3 percent, recorded a decade ago in the December 2007 quarter, immediately before the global financial crisis.

In the December 2017 quarter, the unemployment rate for men remained at 4.0 percent, following adjustments to last quarter's data. By comparison, the unemployment rate for women fell to 5.0 percent, down from 5.3 percent last quarter.

In the December 2017 quarter, the underutilization rate rose to 12.1 percent, up from 12.0 percent (revised) last quarter and down from 12.4 percent a year ago.

Underutilization is a measure of the potential labor supply and unmet need for work.

"Underutilization is a broader measure than unemployment alone, because in addition to unemployment, it also includes people who may be employed but want more hours," Attewell said. "For example a university student looking for a job in anticipation of graduating, or a parent who has recently returned to the workforce looking to work more days."

The employment rate held steady at 67.8 percent, the equal highest rate since the series began in 1986, as employment kept pace with the expanding working-age population. Women also remained at their highest ever rate of employment at 62.4 percent.

Private wages growth was up 0.4 percent on quarter in Q4, while average hourly earnings added 0.8 percent.

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