New Zealand's unemployment rate for the first quarter of 2012 came in at a seasonally adjusted 6.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said on Thursday. That missed forecasts for 6.2 percent after showing an upwardly revised 6.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 - which saw an original reading of 6.3 percent.
The labor force grew by 18,000, with 9,000 more people employed as well as 9,000 more people unemployed in the March 2012 quarter.
The employment change was 0.4 percent, missing expectations for a gain of 0.5 percent after collecting 0.1 percent in the previous three months.
On an annual basis, the employment change showed a gain of 0.9 percent, matching forecasts but slowing from the 1.6 percent jump three months earlier.
"We saw increases in both the number of people in work and the number out there looking for work in the March 2012 quarter. This meant participation in the labor force rose to the highest level since its peak just over three years ago," industry and labor statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.
The participation rate rose to 64.2 percent in the March quarter, after showing 63.9 percent in each of the previous three quarters.
Compared with the December 2011 quarter, part-time employment rose 2.5 percent, to a new peak in the March quarter. In contrast, full-time employment fell slightly, down 0.2 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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