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New Zealand Unemployment Q4 2018

New Zealand: Unemployment rises in Q4

After two years of continued labor market tightening, New Zealand’s unemployment rate rose in the fourth quarter of 2018. The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate edged up to 4.3%, from an upwardly revised 4.0% in Q3 (previously reported: 3.9%) and overshooting market analysts’ expectations. The upturn reflected higher growth in the number of unemployed people, up 10,000 from Q3, as a share of growth in the labor force, which was up 12,000 people.

In addition, the underutilization rate—which includes both unemployment and underemployment—increased from 11.4% in Q3 to 12.1% in Q4, suggesting a rise in the labor market’s untapped capacity. Meanwhile, private sector wage growth climbed 0.5% in Q4 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, matching Q3’s result. All told, this suggests wage pressures are starting to build, albeit at a gradual pace.

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