Employment growth requires confidence

Statistics New Zealand helpfully released the full suite of quarterly Labour market statistics on the same day this week.

The labour market is showing signs of improvement, Statistics New Zealand said today. Employment is growing slowly and unemployment is down from a year ago, but up slightly since the start of the year. Wage inflation continues to be restrained. . .

Employment continued to rise in the June 2013 quarter, following a positive March 2013 quarter. Over the June 2013 year, the number of people employed rose 0.7 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), while demand for workers from established businesses rose 1.9 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

“This growth in employment lines up with the moderate economic recovery we’ve seen. Employment was falling over 2012 while growth in economic activity was slower,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

Employment growth continues to be led by Canterbury. “More people are employed in Canterbury, while we’re also seeing the number of hours worked rise across the other regions. This rise in hours outpaced the growth in employment in the rest of New Zealand,” Ms Ramsay said.

In the June 2013 quarter:

  • The number of people employed rose 0.4 percent, while filled jobs rose by 0.8 percent, after adjusting for usual seasonal patterns.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, up from 6.2 percent in the March 2013 quarter. 
  • Annual wage inflation was 1.7 percent.
  • Average hourly ordinary time earnings were up 0.2 percent over the quarter.

The unemployment rate for the June 2013 quarter edged up to 6.4 percent, down from 2012’s 6.9 percent average.

The number of unemployed grew but the number of people in employment grew faster.

There are still too many people looking for work but improving business confidence will translate into more jobs.

Some people think governments create jobs, they don’t.

Hon BILL ENGLISH: We get new jobs only when businesses do make the decision to invest another dollar and employ another person. Treasury noted that healthy levels of business confidence are translating into stronger hiring intentions and into investment intentions. Quoting from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research quarterly survey, Treasury notes that the labour market appears to be recovering, even though that recovery is gradual. A net 9 percent of firms intend to employ more staff over the next quarter—for instance, firms continue to report that skilled labour is difficult to find, particularly in Canterbury.

Governments can help provide the environment which makes doing business and employing people easier.

That is one of this government’s priorities because it’s businesses which create jobs.

To do that they need to have the confidence that their businesses can sustain the cost of wages and other expenses which come from employing people.

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