The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in the December 2022 quarter, compared with 3.3 percent last quarter, Stats NZ said today.
“The unemployment rate, as measured by the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), has remained at or near historic lows since the September 2021 quarter,” work and wellbeing statistics senior manager Becky Collett said.
The underutilisation rate – a broader measure of spare labour capacity which includes those unemployed, underemployed, and the potential labour force – rose to 9.4 percent, from 9.0 percent last quarter. The primary contribution to higher underutilisation came from increases in the potential labour force.
In the December 2022 quarter, the labour force participation rate remained at 71.7 percent and the employment rate remained at 69.3 percent. Both remain the highest rates recorded since the HLFS began in 1986.
Seasonally adjusted actual hours worked increased 3.6 percent over the year, as the number of employed people increased 1.3 percent.
The number of people away from all jobs or working fewer hours in their main job for COVID-19 related reasons was down 146,200 annually.
However, this was offset by increases in the number of people who were:
- away or working fewer hours due to their own sickness, illness, or injury – up by 35,900
- on holiday – up by 90,500.
“While actual hours worked were higher than last year, it is important to note that last December quarter had elevated COVID-19 restrictions in place,” Collett said.
|Quarter||Covid-19 related reasons||Other||Personal / family reasons||Own sickness / illness / injury||Holidays|
In the year to the December 2022 quarter, all salary and wage rates (including overtime), as measured in the labour cost index (LCI), increased 4.1 percent, compared with 3.7 percent in the year to the September 2022 quarter. This is the largest annual increase since the LCI series began in 1992.
The LCI is often compared with the consumers price index (CPI). This shows how wage cost inflation for businesses compares with consumer inflation (that is, the change in prices of goods and services bought by households). It is not a direct comparison between household income and cost of living.
See Household living-costs price indexes: Background for more information on our official cost of living measure, and User guide for Stats NZ’s wage and income measures for an overview of income measures.
Average weekly earnings (including overtime) per full-time equivalent employee, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), increased 7.6 percent in the year to the December 2022 quarter.
Average ordinary time hourly earnings in the QES also increased, up 7.2 percent, reaching $38.19 in the December 2022 quarter.
“This is the second largest annual rise since the series began in 1989, surpassed only by the 7.4 percent annual increase in the previous quarter,” Collett said.