New Zealand: Unemployment rate falls to lowest in over a decade
November 7, 2018
New Zealand’s labor market tightened further in the third quarter of the year. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropped sharply from a downwardly revised 4.4% in Q2 (previously reported: 4.5%) to 3.9% in Q3, marking the lowest print since Q2 2008 and beating market expectations. The dip reflected a fall in the number of unemployed people by 13,000 and a strong rise in employment of 30,000 workers in Q3.
In a similar vein, the underutilization rate—which includes both unemployment and underemployment—declined notably from 12.0% in Q2 to 11.3% in Q3. Nevertheless, it remains elevated, suggesting that slack in the labor market persists. Meanwhile, private sector wage growth slowed to 0.5% in Q3 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, down from 0.6% in Q2. Despite the downtick, there are signs that wage pressures are starting to build, albeit at a very gradual pace.
New Zealand Unemployment Rate Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the unemployment rate to average 4.4% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and inch up to 4.5% in 2020.
Author: Javier Colato, Economist