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Unemployment data continues to show stronger economy

Today Statistics New Zealand released data showing the labour market holding strong, with unemployment at 3.6% and record numbers of people in work, working a record number of hours.

NZCTU Economist Craig Renney said “There are 113,000 more people in work than this time last year, with more than 2.9 million people in work. The unemployment rate in New Zealand is now the same as Australia, and better than the US, the UK, and the OECD average. This data shows a stable labour market, with continuing labour demand.”

“This data underlines the recovery from COVID, with employment in tourism related industries returning to their pre-COVID levels. Overall, there was annual employment growth in the 13 of the 17 sectors measured. The employment rate for women increased to 65.4% the highest rate since the series began in March 1986.”

Wages growth moderated in the statistics. The Labour Cost Index remained at 4.3%, despite the Minimum Wage rising in this quarter. Average hourly earnings growth slowed to 6.9%, down from 7.5% in September last year. Private sector pay growth continues to outperform public sector growth. “This is a strong set of labour market data. There are still many areas where more work is needed. Maori, Pasifika, and female unemployment is still too high. Too many young people are not in education, employment or training. But this data does not suggest an economy in crisis. More people being in work, earning more, should be celebrated.”