New Zealand Unemployment Q2 2018

New Zealand

New Zealand: The unemployment rate ticks up in Q2

August 1, 2018

Despite a marginal rise in unemployment in the second quarter, New Zealand’s labor market remains robust. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate ticked up from 4.4% in Q1—which had marked the lowest print in over nine years—to 4.5% in Q2, slightly overshooting the stable rate that market analysts had expected. The rise largely reflected the increase in the participation rate, which inched up from 70.8% in Q1 to 70.9% in Q2.

In a similar vein, the underutilization rate—which includes both unemployment and underemployment—rose slightly to 12.0% in Q2 from 11.9% in the previous quarter, suggesting that slack remains. Nevertheless, private sector wage growth, which has remained timid in recent years despite a tight labor market, picked up notably to 0.6% in Q2 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, up from 0.3% in Q1. Although part of the increase was due to the minimum wage hike earlier this year, there are signs that wage pressures are gradually building up.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the unemployment rate to average 4.4% in 2018, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2019, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 4.4%.


Author:, Economist

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New Zealand Unemployment Chart


NewZealand Unemployment Q2 2018

Note: Quarter-on-quarter seasonally adjusted and annual variation of retail sales in %.
Source: Statistics New Zealand and FocusEconomics calculations.


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