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New Zealand Q1 Jobless Rate Slips To 4.2%

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The unemployment rate in New Zealand came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday.

That was beneath expectations for 4.3 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous three months.

Overall employment was down 0.2 percent on quarter, shy of expectations for a gain of 0.5 percent following the 0.1 percent gain in the three months prior.

On a yearly basis, employment was up 1.5 percent - also shy of expectations for a gain of 2.2 percent following the 2.3 percent increase in Q4.

For men, the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in the latest quarter, down from 4.4 percent last quarter. For women, the unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent, up from 4.2 percent.

The number of unemployed people fell to 116,000 (down 4,000) in the March 2019 quarter. This reflected 7,000 fewer unemployed men and 3,000 more women.

The underutilization rate was 11.3 percent, the lowest underutilization rate since the December 2008 quarter, when it was also 11.3 percent.

Annually, the number of people who were underutilized decreased 14,000 to 324,000. There were 8,000 fewer underutilized women and 6,000 fewer men.

The seasonally adjusted employment rate fell to 67.5 percent in the March 2019 quarter, down from 67.8 percent last quarter. The fall in the employment rate reflected a fall in the number of people employed and a rise in the working-age population.

For men, the employment rate fell to 72.3 percent, down from 72.9 percent last quarter. For women, it fell to 62.8 percent, down from 63.0 percent.

In the March 2019 quarter, there were 4,000 fewer employed people, down to 2,658,000 - 4,000 fewer men and 1,000 fewer women. Annually, 38,200 (unadjusted) more people were employed (up 1.5 percent) - 25,400 more women and 12,800 more men.

The annual increase in employment (unadjusted) came from the following age groups: 25-29-year-olds - up 13,200; 30-34-year-olds - up 15,600; and 35-39-year-olds - up 14,100.

On an annual basis, filled jobs, as measured by the QES, rose 1.1 percent (unadjusted), which equates to 22,100 more jobs. Of this rise, 18,700 were held by women and 3,400 by men.

The three main industries contributing to this growth were: construction - up 14,200 (8.5 percent); wholesale trade - up 9,000 (8.0 percent); and transport, postal, and warehousing - up 5,100 (6.3 percent).

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