New Zealand Unemployment Rate Beats Economists' Predictions at 5.6%

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By Reissa Su | August 7, 2014 12:13 PM EST

New Zealand's unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in more than five tears at 5.6 per cent in the second quarter. According to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey released on August 6, the country's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was below Wall Street Journal's 5.8 per cent poll prediction by 14 economists. The 5.6 per cent unemployment rate is the lowest since March 2009.

REUTERS
Reserve Bank of New Zealand dollar notes are pictured in Singapore in this June 22, 2006 file photo.

Reports said economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged as the participation rate dropped to 68.9 per cent from 69.3 per cent. Labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said more people were being employed despite a drop in the number of job seekers from a peak on the first quarter.

In Canterbury, unemployment rate is down 2.8 per cent which is the lowest rate across all regions in New Zealand due to its construction, retail and accommodation services. Bank of New Zealand head of research Stephen Topils said Canterbury is "finally achieving the momentum" economists had expected it to do. He said it was only fair to think progress was later than previously anticipated but it was usually the case after a major disaster.

The recent data confirms unemployment is no longer a problem in New Zealand as the continuous economic growth in Auckland and reconstruction in Christchurch had provided new job opportunities.

The Labour Cost Index showed wages in the private sector rose 0.6 per cent in the second quarter and up 1.8 per cent on year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

New Zealand's employment confidence is also at its highest level since before the global financial crisis in 2008. The country's growing businesses have taken on more employees following a high unemployment rate.

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey has previously described New Zealand's economy as the "envy of the world" when he visited the country in July. Unlike Australia, the ongoing construction work in quake-damaged Christchurch has boosted New Zealand's economic growth to its fastest rate in six years. The Reserve Bank forecast a moderate economic growth for New Zealand in 2015. Economists said the 3.8 per cent growth in gross domestic product is the "strongest" the country has ever recorded since the third quarter of 2007.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Dennis Owen/Files)
Reserve Bank of New Zealand dollar notes are pictured in Singapore in this June 22, 2006 file photo.
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