Employment rises on back of strong economy

Finance Social Development and Employment

The latest data from Stats NZ today shows the recovering economy is continuing to add jobs, led by a record high for jobs in construction, while unemployment fell.

Employment rose by 17,000 in the December quarter, up 0.6 percent on the previous September quarter. Women made up 10,000 of the increase in the last three months of the year.

The unemployment rate fell from 5.3 percent to 4.9 percent. This compares with the Treasury’s Half year Economic and Fiscal Update forecast unemployment rate of 6 percent.

“Construction jobs rose by 21,000 annually, which included those working as plumbers, electricians, and roofers. This more than offset the impact of COVID-19 on tourism-related industries,” Grant Robertson said.

“The Government’s decisive actions to keep people connected to their jobs and support businesses and households through the COVID-19 pandemic has been reflected in today’s positive numbers.

“Confidence in the Government’s handling of the economy has also been reflected in recent business surveys, with firms intending to hire more staff.

“Maori employment is up 5,100 from a year ago. Our focus is on keeping the economy moving in the right direction and build back better, including investing heavily in education, skills and training,” Grant Robertson said.

“The stronger labour market saw more people come off the benefit in the December quarter, with nearly 27,000 entering paid work,” Minister of Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.

“In Budget 2020 we invested $400 million in expanding MSD’s employment support services and increasing the number of front line staff focused on getting people into work.  This investment is beginning to pay off.

“We will continue to invest in support services to help people who lose their jobs upskill and re-enter the workforce. Our job is far from over.”

New Zealand’s 4.9 percent unemployment rate compares with 6.8 percent in Australia and the United States, and 8.7 percent in Canada. The OECD average is 6.9 percent.