New Zealand: Economic slack filters into the labor market in Q3
November 6, 2019
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.2% in Q3 from an 11-year low of 3.9% the previous quarter. The reading was slightly above market expectations of a 4.1% unemployment rate, and reflected an increase in both the number of unemployed people and the labor force participation rate, both contributing to the rise in the number of unemployed people as a share of the labor force. That said, Q3 also saw some employment gains, greater among men than women.
On the other hand, the underutilization rate—which includes both unemployment and underemployment—fell from 11.0% in Q2 to 10.4% in Q3, signaling a decline in the labor market’s untapped capacity. Meanwhile, private sector wages rose 0.6% in Q3 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, below Q2’s 0.8% upturn.