New Zealand: Unemployment dips as people stop looking for a job in Q2
August 5, 2020
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.0% in Q2 from 4.2% in the previous quarter. The reading was notably below market expectations of a 5.8% unemployment rate, and reflected a drop in people actively looking for a job amid the fallout of the pandemic and government-funded wage subsidy schemes.
Meanwhile, the underutilization rate—which includes both unemployment and underemployment—climbed from 10.4% in Q1 to 12.0% in Q2, marking the largest quarterly rise on record and signaling a sustained increase in the labor market’s untapped capacity. Moreover, hours worked fell by a record-breaking 10.3%, while private sector wages rose a timid 0.2% in Q2 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, marginally down from Q1’s already subdued 0.3% upturn.