New Zealand unemployment just hit a 15-month high

New Zealand unemployment rose fractionally in the June quarter with an increase to 5.9% reported. The figure was above the 5.8% rate of Q1 and in line with market expectations.

In what was a disappointing outcome, the number of jobs created during the quarter rose by just 0.3%, below the 0.5% expected. It was also the lowest quarterly gain since the December quarter 2012. From a year earlier employment increased by 3.0% to 2.36 million.

Over the quarter the number of unemployed rose by 1.9% to 148,000. From a year earlier it increased by 7.5%

Had it not been for a sharp drop in labour market participation, down to 69.3% from 69.5% in Q1, the unemployment rate would have started with a six rather than a five.

Elsewhere quarterly wages including overtime rose by 0.5% leaving the annual increase at 1.8%. Both were in line with expectations.

The vast majority of growth was in Auckland (29,600 people), where the annual employment growth was driven by retail trade and accommodation, followed by construction. Bay of Plenty had the second-highest employment growth, with 11,000 more people being employed over the year, said Statistics New Zealand.

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