Huge labour force growth

Stats NZ reports:

The 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).

47,000 more people working is not bad.

The increase in the unemployment rate was expected as the previous quarter had dropped 0.7%, and to some degree this is probably a correction (the HLFS has sampling margin of error like any poll).

From a year ago:

  • Employment up 2.0%
  • Unemployment down 0.3%
  • Unemployment rate down 0.1%
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings up 2.4%

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