NZ unemployment rate hits five-year low

New Zealand’s unemployment rate has reached its lowest level in more than five years, as the country’s economy continues to grow from strength to strength.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) has revealed that steady job growth in the September quarter has lowered the country’s unemployment rate to 5.4 per cent – the lowest rate since March 2009.

The HLFS shows that there was an increase of 18,000 people employed in the September quarter and 72,000 over the last year as the economy continues to strengthen following the Global Financial Crisis.

“It’s very encouraging to see the increasing confidence of companies around the country as they build their businesses and hire more people,” said Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment. “The New Zealand employment story is one of steady recovery from the very tough days of the Global Financial Crisis.”

The Minister continued: “We’ve seen particularly strong recovery in the construction industry in the last year, which has grown by 33,500 jobs across the country.

“It’s also good news for Kiwis that real wages are steadily increasing faster than inflation. The Quarterly Employment Survey shows average hourly earnings up 2.3 per cent for the year compared to an inflation rate of 1 per cent over the same period.”

There was particularly strong employment growth in the South Island, with 41,000 more people employed in the last year. The South Island unemployment rate is now 3.4 per cent compared to 6.2 per cent in the North Island. The rebuild of Canterbury is the main driver of jobs on the island.

In recent months, net migration to New Zealand has reached record levels, due to a combination of more immigrants being attracted to the country due to its growing economy, and fewer Kiwis looking to leave for the same reason.

Article published 5th November 2014