Seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate in New Zealand was 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018, the statistical office of New Zealand reported.
This was well below the expected 4.4 percent. Last quarter, the rate was 4.5 percent.
This is also the lowest unemployment rate since the second quarter of 2008.
Employment increased by 2.8 percent in annual terms, which is higher than expected growth by 2.0 percent after an increase of 3.7 percent in the second quarter.
The share of participation was 71.1 percent, exceeding forecasts of 70.9 percent, which would be unchanged from the previous quarter.
The fall in unemployment in the last quarter reflected a decrease in the number of unemployed (by 13,000 people) and a significant increase in employment (by 29,000 people). The employment rate this quarter rose to 68.3 percent, which is the highest since the beginning of statistics more than 30 years ago.
The fall in unemployment, combined with the fall in part-time employment, was the key to the fact that the under-utilization of the labor force fell to 11.3 percent.
Although the unemployment rate in this quarter goes beyond market expectations, New Zealand’s economy is small and has a dynamic labor market, and big changes, both upward and downward, have happened before – in late 2012 and 2015 Jason Atwell, senior manager of labor and household statistics, said.
Labor market indicators tend to lag behind other economic indicators, which showed strong growth in 2018. There has been an increase in population in the regions; reports show employment growth, high levels of migration and tourism, and sales growth in retail and export.
In the third quarter, 109,000 people were unemployed, which is 13,000 (10.5 percent) less than in the second quarter: 8,000 women and 5,000 men. This mainly reflected a decrease in youth unemployment (from 15 to 24 years old) by 11,000.  Regions with a significant increase in employment: Auckland – by 34,600 (3.8 percent); Waikato – by 8,400 (3.3 percent); Otago, an increase of 6,700 (5.5 percent); Gisbor / Gulf Hawk – by 6,400 (6.5 percent); Taranaki – by 4300 (7.1 percent).
In annual terms, the filled jobs, measured by the quarterly employment survey (QES), increased by 1.2 percent (without correction), that is, 23,500 jobs. Of this, 17,500 women and 6,000 men.
Average weekly earnings (including overtime) for full-time employees also increased by 3.3 percent over the year to $ 1,212.82 per week.