Unemployment drops to 5.6%

August 6th, 2014 at 11:19 am by David Farrar

Stats NZ have reported that seasonally adjusted has dropped to 5.6%, which is excellent in continuing the trend. NZ now has the 9th lowest rate in the 34 country OECD. We were 11th lowest last quarter. We are now lower than Australia and Israel. In fact our OECD ranking is now lower than it was in 2008 (10th equal then). Our rate is 1.8% below the OECD average, and lower than Australia, Canada, UK and US.

Some stats:

  • Unemployed of 137,000 is 17,000 fewer than a year ago
  • Unemployment rate of 5.6% compared to 6.4% a year ago
  • Employed of 2,328,000 – 82,000 more than a year ago
  • FT employed up 71,000 and PT employed up 13,000
  • 65,000 more in labour force than a year ago
  • Labour force participation rate is 68.9% compared to 68.1% a year ago
  • Maori unemployment rate is 11.0%, down from 12.8% a year ago
  • Pasifika unemployment rate is 11.4% down from 16.3% a year ago
  • Under 20 unemployment rate is 20.4%, down from 24.1% a year ago
  • Manufacturing jobs are 246,500 – up from 242,600 a year ago (recall the crisis!)
  • Number of hours worked is up 4.8% from a year ago (highest growth for many years)
  • The proportion of under 20s not in employment, study or training has fallen from 8.0% a year ago to 7.4% today

Some additional data from the other employment surveys out today:

  • Salary and wage rates up 1.7% from a year ago
  • Manufacturing pay rates up 1.9% from a year ago (recall the crisis!)
  • Total weekly gross earnings up 6.3% from a year ago
  • Female average earnings as % of male up from 86.7% to 87.1% over a year
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33 Responses to “Unemployment drops to 5.6%”

  1. alloytoo (526 comments) says:

    According to my source in the recruitment sector, we effectively have full employment at the lower end of the spectrum.

    What’s left, are, in his words, “Unemployable.”

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  2. Don the Kiwi (1,686 comments) says:

    I’m waiting for Cunliffe to announce that unemployment is up, on the midday news.

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  3. Yogibear (361 comments) says:

    Whats interesting is when you combine this with near record investment in the last 12 months in plant and equipment.

    I’d normally feel that getting into the low 5% starts to look squeaky in terms of skill shortages (as Allytoo points out), with the associated inflationary impact. But the capital investment profile of firms in the last year looks like many employers are making better choices between machines (expensive) and people (cheap).

    It will be really interesting to see how this plays out in the productivity stats in the next 18 months.

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  4. elidia (1 comment) says:

    Over 50 are employable and have lot of experience but nobody wants to employ them.

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  5. flipper (3,952 comments) says:

    I doubt that the recruitment (leeches) sector is in any position to judge – they rarely deal with ab-initio job applicants.
    More emphasis in some regions, and more on youth is necessary.
    But the results are bloody good news, and give the lie to the Kelly/Rainbow/red melon narrative.

    And Don the K is right. The TV / Latta spin on this tonight will be fascinating.

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  6. KiwiGreg (3,234 comments) says:

    Hopefully those who fixate on manufacturing will realise how relatively unimportant it is in the context of employment. You might also reflect on whether you’d want you, or one of your kids, to actually have to work in a factory as opposed to the service sector you almost certainly work in.

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  7. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (872 comments) says:

    I am waiting for the left wing nutters to declare crisis and an announcement from Green Tuatara and Holy mother Laila “sold my soul to the devil” Harre to announce free jobs for all schemes.

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  8. hj (6,871 comments) says:

    On TV3 5 August health workers blamed immigration for forcing wages down.

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  9. oldpark (266 comments) says:

    With a positive return for the Nats on their employment track record,maybe Labour’s slogan and message is correct “Vote Positive”.They are telling voters to vote National.

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  10. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,744 comments) says:

    Hikoi of Hope time again?

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  11. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (872 comments) says:

    Mind you rich pricks, Messiah, Jesus Christ V2.0 Cunliffe is aiming for ZERO unemployment…..5.6% is too high says economic nutter Parker….

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  12. Unity (493 comments) says:

    Why is it in election year that the incumbent Government always says unemployment is down but the opposition say it is up? This is the only year (election time) I’m sceptical about the figures. It’s very easy to massage them to look a certain way. We’ll probably find they are up again next year!!??

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  13. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    National delivered on Clark’s desire to lift NZ into the top half of the OECD ladder – who’d have thunk that the unionist social engineering lovers of big government would fail for 9 years to achieve it….

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  14. Odakyu-sen (577 comments) says:

    Is “unemployment” referring to people who are drawing unemployment benefit AND people who have registered with WINZ as “looking for employment” but who do not qualify for unemployment benefit?

    Remember, if you have income (from investments or other sources) exceeding $500 or so a week, you can’t claim unemployment benefit.

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  15. ShawnLH (4,483 comments) says:

    but….but….but….not possible! Aren’t National are just socialists in drag? And what about the banking apocalypse just around, the corner. No the other corner…….

    Nah, seriously, good news and more evidence for double ticking National on election day. National is getting on with the job while it’s detractors on the left and right only have hot air and hysteria.

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  16. mandk (958 comments) says:

    @ elidia

    Not true.
    According to the HLFS, employment amongst people aged 50+ has increased by 17,200 in the last year.

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  17. hj (6,871 comments) says:

    Aug. 6 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s unemployment rate fell to a five-year low in the June quarter as employment growth in Canterbury fuelled the labour market.

    The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in the three months ended June 30, from a revised 5.9 percent in the March quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand’s household labour force survey. That’s the lowest rate since March 2009, and below the 5.8 percent forecast in a Reuters’ survey of economists. The participation rate fell 0.3 of a percentage point to 68.9 percent, below expectations, as the workforce remained static and the population grew.

    Employment grew 0.4 percent in the quarter, below the 0.7 percent pace predicted by economists and was up 3.7 percent on an annual basis. A busy construction sector continued to drive jobs growth, particularly in Canterbury where the country’s second-biggest city, Christchurch, is being rebuilt. Canterbury's unemployment rate of 2.8 percent was the lowest across all regions, and employment growth was largely in construction and retail and accommodation service.

    https://nz.finance.yahoo.com/news/midday-update–nz-unemployment-at-5-year-low-as-canterbury-rebuild-kicks-off-001611394.html
    An immigration sugar rush and the rebuild.

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,406 comments) says:

    At this rate, the current government’s imitation of a Labour government will bring unemployment down to levels last seen under an actual Labour government – well done.

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  19. ShawnLH (4,483 comments) says:

    “An immigration sugar rush and the rebuild.”

    As an immigrant I’m glad to help! :)

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  20. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt

    Yes, after artificially lowering them by stacking bums on seats in the public service we ended in recession and massive cuts in the public service. Labvour did have low levels of unemployment, Labour governments always do – but they also always end in recession and black budgets imposed by National.

    If you like the artificial boom and bust cycle that social engineering invariably produces – then keep voting Labour. The fact you still support them when the cycle I just described has happened every single time with every Labour govt for the last 50 years suggest you are just like Labour policy yourself. You don’t actually care for the people you claim to help and you invariably make their lot worse after using them for your own agenda.

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  21. JamesBlake (62 comments) says:

    Um Burt are you saying that the ressesion was the fault of the last Labour government and not the GFC? Cause from what I remember back then we had Bill English grudgingly admiting that Dr Cullen had left the books in very good order and that would allow us to ride out the GFC better than other countries. Shortly after that every right winger (including myself) blaming the GFC for increases in job losses and the poor state of the economy.

    Recently every report on our improving economy has pointed out it is in a large part due to Dairy and the Christchurch rebuild. Farmers chose off their own backs to go to the more profitable form of farming and set up for dairy. The government can’t really take the credit for that. Fontera drives a lot of the manufacturing job increases from what I understand. I don’t think it is a good idea to gloat about the boom being driven from CHCH either (2.3% unemployment really helping those stats by the way). After all unless the government invented some fancy earthquake machine they had stuff all to do with it.

    By the way lowering the public service number. How did that work out for Defence and MFAT? People in the public service actually do jobs that need to be done. Pretty sure the country would go to shit with out the police and courts, prisons and other essencial public services we all take advantage of.

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  22. Simon (694 comments) says:

    “At this rate, the current government’s imitation of a Labour government will bring unemployment down to levels last seen under an actual Labour government – well done.”

    NZ doesn’t have the high interest rates of the last labour govt either. They will come and the circle will then be complete.

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  23. mandk (958 comments) says:

    @ Psycho Milt,
    The last Labour government didn’t have a Global Financial Crisis and the devastation of the country’s second largest city to deal with.

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  24. JamesBlake (62 comments) says:

    Strangley Mandk the devistation of CHCH is largely responsable for the low unemployment rate. GFC hit at the end of Labours term yet here people one minute blame Labour for the state of the economy and the next blame the GFC. Get on message #teamkey.

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  25. Viking2 (11,371 comments) says:

    Labour says it will increase the number of public servants and cut back on contractors in the sector.

    It will also fund a royal commission into the state sector and review the legislation that governs government departments.

    State services spokeswoman Maryan Street announced the policy at the Institute for Public Administration Conference in Wellington today.

    “Labour will rebuild core capacity in the public service so it can do the quality job it needs to,” she said.

    “The National government has gutted the state sector. The so-called ‘cap’ on core public servants announced in 2008 quickly became a sinking lid.

    “After years of spending millions on expensive consultants and hiring back redundant staff on pricey contracts, the Government has recently attempted to reverse some of the damage it caused.”

    She said Labour would also implement a goal of 50 per cent goal women on state-sector boards, and work to achieve gender pay equality.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10354453/Labour-to-rebuild-public-service
    =========================

    So Labour will continue with its bloat factor.

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  26. Ross Miller (1,688 comments) says:

    JamesBlake … pse authenticate your statement that Bill English said that Labour had left the books in very good order.

    Have you not read the Treasury briefing papers to the incoming Govt in 2008?

    If that constitutes ‘very good order’ then I would hate to see bad in your lexicon.

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  27. Harriet (4,798 comments) says:

    LOL……The matter of unemployment is not a very serious matter if it is soley about ONE FUCKEN HOUR.

    In Australia anyone who works for 1hr week is deemed as being ‘employed’. So too probably in NZ. ……..anyone can find a job for 1hr a week!!!!!

    And if ‘counted as being employed’ in NZ is more than 1hr week – then you can’t compare the rate with Australia.

    I’ve always looked at employment like this e.g – after the GFC over 90% of people STILL had their job. It’s the media who creates a pessimistic enviroment which effects the economy and then leads to people losing their jobs.

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  28. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    JamesBlake

    Um Burt are you saying that the ressesion was the fault of the last Labour government and not the GFC? Cause from what I remember back then we had Bill English grudgingly admiting that Dr Cullen had left the books in very good order and that would allow us to ride out the GFC better than other countries.

    The fact we were in recession prior to the GFC – yeah we know the lovers of big social engineering government like to pretend it’s not true.

    It’s true that English said Labour left the books in good shape initially. Within months though he was bagging Labour for their spend and bust policies which (at that time according to Treasury) were set to leave NZ with a structural deficit and a decade of recession.

    It seems to me the conventions of parliament are the incoming government praise the outgoing government in some kind of gentlemanly way – it’s bollocks clearly. If you can still get anybody in any party in government to put their name behind a statement that Labour left the books in good shape then please quote that as well.

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  29. burt (8,206 comments) says:

    JamesBlake

    By the way lowering the public service number. How did that work out for Defence and MFAT?

    You miss the point James – if Labour hadn’t spent the last of the countries cash paying twice what KiwiRail was worth we would have had longer to cruise – cash is king in a recession.

    Additionally if Labour hadn’t loaded government departments with extra bodies to hide unemployment because their policies were a failure, then there wouldn’t have been cuts required.

    High tax and endless sheltered workshop jobs to make the stats look good were a feature of the 70’s – it failed then and has failed every time since. I know it’s popular to say – Everyone gets a job …. but a job isn’t sucking on a fatter tax payers teat than the dole – that’s just loopy Labour policy for their own agenda of looking effective.

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  30. EAD (957 comments) says:

    There are lies, damn lies, and government statistics released just before an election

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  31. OneTrack (2,987 comments) says:

    James Blake – “Ha ha, we’ve spent the lot”

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  32. big bruv (13,689 comments) says:

    So 5.6% are without work. Given the huge number of Phillip Ure’s in NZ I would agree with the first comment made in this thread. Most of that 5.6% have no intention of ever working.

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  33. big bruv (13,689 comments) says:

    If silly James is still here perhaps he would do well to remember that NZ led the world into recession whilst still under the control of the corrupt Helen Klark government.

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