The jobless rate has fallen to near an eight-year low as participation dwindled, while employment fell.
The unemployment rate slipped to 4.8% in the three months ended June 30, the lowest since December 2008, and down from 4.9% in March, Statistics New Zealand said in its household labour force survey.
However, the participation rate shrank to 70% from 70.6% in March as more people left the labour force at the same time as the working-age population expanded.
New employment snapped six quarters of growth, shrinking 0.2% in the quarter to 2.54 million, although was still up 3.1% from a year earlier.
While that missed economists’ expectations for a 0.7% quarterly gain, it masked a shift from part-time work into full-time employment, with full-time jobs rising 0.7% in the quarter to two million and part-time falling 1.8% to 536,000.
The labour market has been robust over the past 18 months. Companies have been able to create new jobs for an expanding population in an economy underpinned by record tourism, strong migration, a construction boom and more recently the recovery in global dairy prices.
While that has made it harder for firms to find skilled labour, something companies regularly complain about, it has not fed through to higher wages yet and has acted as a restraint on consumer price inflation.
Professional, scientific, technical, administration and support services have helped drive annual employment growth, rising 11% to 316,200 in the June quarter from a year earlier, while construction continues to underpin the labour market rising 8.3% to 234,300.
Rental, hiring and real estate services jumped 24% to 51,200. NZN