The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in the June 2017 quarter (down from 4.9 percent in the March 2017 quarter) Stats NZ said today.

This is the lowest unemployment rate since December 2008, after the start of the global financial crisis, when it was 4.4 percent.

“In the June 2017 quarter, 3,000 fewer people were unemployed,” labour market and households senior manager Diane Ramsay said. “The unemployment rate for women fell to 4.9 percent, with 10,000 fewer women unemployed – the lowest it’s been since March 2009.” In contrast, the male unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent (7,000 more men unemployed).

Unemployed people are those who are available to work, and who had either actively sought work or had a new job to start within the next four weeks.

The employment rate fell to 66.7 percent (4,000 fewer people employed) in the June 2017 quarter, down from 67.1 percent in the March 2017 quarter. The drop in employment follows six quarters in which employment rose.

New Zealand’s working-age population increased 0.5 percent in the June 2017 quarter (up 20,000 people) to 3,801,000. This is the first quarter since September 2015 that employment growth was below population growth.

Filled jobs (as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey) increased 3.0 percent (up 56,600 jobs) over the year to the June 2017 quarter. The professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services, and the construction, industries were the two largest contributors to this increase.

In the year to the June 2017 quarter the labour cost index increased 1.7 percent, up from 1.6 percent in the year to March 2017.

The recent minimum wage increase contributed to wage inflation in the latest quarter. Changes to carers’ wages from the Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Bill (2017) took effect on 1 July 2017, the start of the September 2017 quarter.

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