BNZ Economist gives insight into July employment data for New Zealand.

Figured out.

Doug Steel, Senior Economist at BNZ, Doug Steel has given an overview of July’s employment data from SEEK. Overall, the figures demonstrated:

  • Jobs ads lift in July, but trend remains down
  • Canterbury and Auckland weighing on national totals
  • Industry decomposition very mixed
  • Job ads suggest slower employment growth ahead

As Steel notes, new job advertising numbers on SEEK.co.nz managed to edge 0.6 per cent higher in July, but this was not quite enough to recoup June’s 0.7 per cent dip. The trend therefore remains downward. Job ad numbers are now only 0.8 per cent higher than a year ago, a substantial slowdown in annual growth from the 7.8 per cent recorded last year.

“The trend in Canterbury and Auckland job ads remains downward, acting as a drag on the national figures,” Steel observes. “Canterbury job ads remain well behind year ago levels, although have shown some signs of stabilisation over recent months. Wellington, in contrast, remains strong, with double digit annual growth in its job ads from an already high level.”

According to Steel, job ads in a number of construction-related occupations have declined over the past year although July saw some improvement in the likes of construction, design and architecture, and engineering but job ads in these industries remain below year earlier levels. “This could well be associated with recent trends in Canterbury,” he says. “Meanwhile, government-related industries have maintained positive annual growth.”

Recently released official employment figures for the second quarter of the year revealed solid annual growth of 1.7 per cent. Despite a small lift in July, the downward trend in job ads on SEEK.co.nz over recent months warns of a slowdown in employment growth into the second half of 2019. Meanwhile, applications per job ad continued to rise in July, a movement often associated with emerging slack in the labour market. “This is something to watch given it is counter to the message from the official unemployment rate falling to 3.9 per cent in Q2,” says Steel. “Perhaps more applicants per ad is reflecting an increase in labour market turnover as employees look for better opportunities.”

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