Immigration up, unemployment down

One argument used by people opposed to immigration is that immigrants take jobs.

The latest Household Labourforce Survey gives the lie to that, showing that immigration increased while unemployment fell:

Rising employment is more than keeping up with our growing population, while unemployment has fallen to 5.4 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Due to strong migration, we have had the largest annual rise in the population in 10 years,” labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said. “We had 72,000 more people employed over the year, greater than the additional 64,000 people in the population. This pushed our employment rate up, to 65.2 of every 100 adults being in employment.”

“While employment has grown strongly, the picture for wages is mixed,” Ms Ramsay said. Annual wage inflation was 1.6 percent, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI). This is in line with the past four quarters. Although private sector wage inflation was 1.9 percent, growth in pay rates for the public sector has slowed to 1.0 percent.

The number of people employed has grown 3.2 percent since September 2013, in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). Demand for workers from established businesses rose 3.0 percent in the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) – the largest annual increase in over six years. . .

The construction industry accounted for almost half the annual employment growth. Just over 40 percent of the growth in this industry was in Canterbury, with a further 17 percent being in Auckland. . .

Employment had been lagging behind other economic indicators but now it is increasing as the population grows and unemployment is the lowest since 2009:

The HLFS shows an increase of 18,000 people employed in the September quarter and 72,000 over the last year as the economy continues to strengthen following the Global Financial Crisis.

“It’s very encouraging to see the increasing confidence of companies around the country as they build their businesses and hire more people,” Mr Joyce says.

“We’ve seen particularly strong recovery in the construction industry in the last year, which has grown by 33,500 jobs across the country.

“It’s also good news for Kiwis that real wages are steadily increasing faster than inflation. The Quarterly Employment Survey shows average hourly earnings up 2.3 per cent for the year compared to an inflation rate of 1 per cent over the same period.”

Other highlights include:

The lowest NEET rate for 15-19 year olds since June 2008 at 7.2 per cent.

Particularly strong employment growth in the South Island with 41,000 more people employed in the last year. The South Island unemployment rate is now 3.4 per cent compared to 6.2 per cent in the North Island.

Strong employment growth for women. The number of women in full-time employment rose by 12,000 in the quarter and the number in part-time employment rose by 3,000.

“The New Zealand employment story is one of steady recovery from the very tough days of the Global Financial Crisis,” Mr Joyce says.

“The Government will continue to focus on policies that encourage business confidence, investment and job growth right across the New Zealand economy through the Business Growth Agenda and our consistent macroeconomic policies.”

Photo: Our clear plan to grow the economy is working, with unemployment falling to the lowest level in more than five years. #Working4NZ

6 Responses to Immigration up, unemployment down

  1. I love data and I love employment. Interesting case for sure. Good stuff.


  2. Bulaman says:

    Got to get some glasses, thought it said irrigation!


  3. Gravedodger says:

    “Shouda gone to ‘Spec Savers’,eh


  4. homepaddock says:

    Bulaman – The two aren’t entirely unrelated. Some of the increase in employment will be directly and indirectly a result of an increase in irrigation.


  5. Bulaman says:

    Agree catch and release for water makes a vast difference. I remember Mr Hubbard being quoted that after dairy had added biomass to the Canterbury plains soils they could then be converted to intensive horticulture and grow enough veg to feed 25 percent of the globe using the same water.
    A recent conference I attended put up these numbers for pre crunch net returns per hectare per annum (roughly)

    Sheep and beef $560
    Forestry $2600
    Dairy $6400
    Horticulture $22,000

    Plenty of water and jobs in that last one!


  6. Mr E says:

    I am not sure the prelude to the article is quite right. The statistics don’t suggest immigrants are not coming here and taking jobs.

    I think they suggest there are enough jobs for all.

    I’m very happy we welcome immigrants to NZ and I think the balance of needs and supply is about right. It is fair to say I know people that are pro and anti. Not me.

    Coming from a family that contains blood from all sort of immigrants, it would be very hypocritical for me to be anti immigration. I simply prefer a healthy balance. Demand met by supply.


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