The jobless rate in New Zealand came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2021, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday.
That was shy of estimates for 4.9 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous three months.
The employment change was 0.6 percent on quarter, steady from the three months prior but surpassing expectations for 0.2 percent.
The participation rate was 70.4 percent in the first quarter – beating forecasts for 70.3 percent and up from 70.2 percent in the previous quarter.
For men, the unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent, up from 4.5 percent last quarter. For women, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, down from 5.3 percent.
The number of unemployed people fell to 135,000 (down 5,000) as 3,000 more men were unemployed and 8,000 fewer women were unemployed.
The underutilization rate rose to 12.2 percent in the March 2021 quarter, up from 11.8 percent last quarter. For men, the underutilization rate rose to 10.1 percent, up from 9.7 percent. For women, the underutilization rate rose to 14.7 percent, up from 14.3 percent.
In Q1, the number of people who were underutilized rose to 366,000 (up 15,000) as 7,000 more men were underutilized and 8,000 more women were underutilized.
The employment rate rose to 67.1 percent, up from 66.8 percent last quarter. For men, the employment rate fell to 72.0 percent, down from 72.1 percent last quarter. For women, the employment rate rose to 62.3 percent, up from 61.7 percent last quarter.
In the first quarter, there were 15,000 more employed people than last quarter, up to 2,750,000 as 2,000 more men were employed and 14,000 more women were employed.
The fall in the employment rate for men reflected the number of men who were employed (up 2,000) increasing by a smaller proportion than the working-age population for men (up 4,000).
The labor cost index (LCI) all salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased 1.6 percent in the year to the March 2021 quarter. Private sector wages increased by 1.6 percent over the year and public sector wages increased by 1.8 percent over the year.
Salary and wage rates (including overtime) increased 0.4 percent over the quarter. Private sector salary and wage rates increased 0.4 percent and public sector salary and wage rates increased 0.3 percent.
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