New Zealand's unemployment rate jumps to 4.3pc in Q4

Published: February 07, 2019 13:36:15 | Updated: February 09, 2019 13:04:15

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New Zealand's unemployment rate rose to 4.3 per cent in the December 2018 quarter, up from 4.0 per cent last quarter, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Thursday.

The unemployment rate was lower for women than men for the first time in nearly nine years, according to the Statistics New Zealand.

The rise in unemployment was largely contributed by more unemployed men, which was up by 8,000, and the number of unemployed women rose by 2,000, the Stats NZ said.

For men and women combined, there were 12,000 more unemployed youth between 15 and 24-year-olds, the statistics said.

The unemployment rate for men rose to 4.4 per cent in the December quarter, while it was 4.2 per cent for women, labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said in a statement.

"This was the first time since June 2010 that this rate was lower for women than men," Attewell said.

The underutilization rate, which provides a broader gauge of untapped capacity in New Zealand's labour market, rose to 12.1 per cent in the December 2018 quarter, up from 11.4 per cent in the previous quarter, statistics showed.

This rise mainly reflected higher unemployment and underemployment and covered those who prefer to work more than they currently are, reports Xinhua.

In the latest quarter, growth in the working-age population, which was up 25,000, outstripped growth in the labor force, which resulted in a slight dip in the labour force participation rate to 70.9 per cent, although it still remains high, Stats NZ said.

The employment rate fell to 67.8 per cent, down from its peak of 68.2 per cent in the September 2018 quarter, due to stronger growth in the working-age population than for employment, it said.

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