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Unemployment rises as the labour force grows
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 May 2016

Labour Market Statistics: March 2016 quarter  –  Media Release

The unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent in the March 2016 quarter (from a revised 5.4 percent), while the labour force grew 1.5 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. This was the largest increase in New Zealand’s labour force since December 2004.

“The total labour force increased by 38,000 people in the March 2016 quarter,” labour market and households statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “This resulted in more New Zealanders in unemployment and employment than three months ago.”

The growth in people employed (1.2 percent) exceeded the growth in the working-age population (0.8 percent) this quarter. This resulted in the employment rate going up to 65.1 percent (from 64.9 percent). Employment increased for men and women this quarter, including for women going into full-time employment (10,600 people). Compared with a year ago, 47,000 more people were employed (2.0 percent).

“Nearly half of the annual employment growth in New Zealand was in the Auckland region. By industry, construction and the professional services each employed 17,500 more people,” Mr Attewell said.

For the quarter, New Zealand’s unemployment rate (5.7 percent) was down from 5.8 percent compared with a year ago.

The Bay of Plenty had a significant drop in its unadjusted unemployment rate over the year – down from 7.8 percent to 5.1 percent, making it the region with the lowest unemployment rate in the North Island.

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index, increased to 1.6 percent. Private sector wage inflation was up 1.8 percent, and public sector up 1.4 percent.

Salary and wage rate growth (including overtime) in the Canterbury construction industry continued to ease, to 1.3 percent, in the year to the March 2016 quarter. For the rest of New Zealand, wage rate growth in the construction industry rose to 2.5 percent, the highest annual increase since the series began in 2010.

See data quality for more information on these indicators and the data sources we use to compile them.

Ends

For media enquiries contact: Mark Gordon, Wellington 04 931 4600, info@stats.govt.nz
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 4 May 2016

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