Unemployment rate rises unexpectedly for 3rd quarter in row to 7.3% in September; Highest since March 1999; vs expectation for 6.7%

By Alex Tarrant

Unemployment leapt to 7.3% during the September quarter, its highest rate since 1999, as employment fell and the number of people looking for work rose.

The jump will again fuel expectations that the Reserve Bank will cut the Official Cash Rate from its current record low 2.5%.

Markets had retreated from this expectation after recent comments from new Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler.

But while some economists had not ruled out the unemployment rate rising back to 7% from 6.8% in the June quarter, the headline 7.3% rate in September would be a surprise shock for all.

Polls by Reuters and Bloomberg gave median expectations for a 6.7% headline rate.

Economic growth in New Zealand is expected to have fallen off since the middle of the year, following a strong first half.

The New Zealand dollar fell from 82.55 US cents before the 10:45am release to 81.68 US cents at 11am.

Seasonally adjusted figures released by Statistics New Zealand on Thursday showed the number of unemployed people – those actively seeking work but not in it – rose by 13,000 to 175,000 in the September quarter from June.

Of the 13,000 more unemployed, 10,000 were men and 3,000 were women.

The number of people employed fell by 8,000 to 2,218,000 during the quarter, a fall of 0.4%, and its second fall in a row after a relatively flat year, Statistics New Zealand said.

The Bloomberg and Reuters polls had given expectations for a 0.3% rise in employment.

The labour force participation rate – employed plus unemployed, as a percentage of the working age population – remained steady at 68.4%, Statistics New Zealand said.

The labour force (unemployed plus employed) grew by 5,000 during the quarter, indicating more people - predominantly women – were looking for work than in the June quarter.

Over the year to September 2012, the number of unemployed people rose by 18,900 (up 12.5%), Statistics New Zealand said.

The number of unemployed people who said they had been looking for work for over a year rose by 10,200 on an annual basis, reflecting increases in both male and female long-term unemployment (4,700 and 5,500, respectively), Stats NZ said.

“The number has been on the rise since June 2008 and is now at 21,100,” Stats NZ said.

Over the September quarter the seasonally adjusted NEET rate for youth (measuring those aged 15-24 not in employment, education, or training) increased slightly by 0.3 percentage points to 13.4%, Stats NZ said.

Since the December 2011 quarter the youth NEET rate has been between 13.1% and 13.5%.

The number of people ‘underemployed’ – those in part-time employment but wanting more work – was 113,300 in the September quarter, the highest since the end of 2009. It was up from 109,500 in the June quarter and 97,500 in the September 2011 quarter, which would have been affected by the Rugby World Cup.

Key surprised

Prime Minister John Key said he was surprised by the figures

“It’s slightly unusual data because it’s focussing on Auckland, and that runs a little counter to what we’ve actually anecdotally seen in Auckland," Key told media in Wellington.

“In fact, one of the reasons the Reserve Bank Governor gave for not cutting interest rates was because you’ve seen a housing bubble and so much movement in Auckland," Key said.

“So at the end of the day, that is the way the data’s fallen today. But the government’s got a clear plan, it’ll stick to that plan, and it’ll continue to grow jobs."

A number of conditions were needed for there to be job growth.

“You obviously need the world to start doing a bit better; You’ve got very weak conditions in Europe; You’ve still got the remnants of the crisis in the United States; And Asia’s been slowing down," Key said.

“We are a quarter of one percent of global growth. New Zealand can’t do this on its own.But I think the reforms that as a government we’re taking are actually pushing New Zealand to being more competitive and more productive, and I think that puts New Zealand in good stead,” he said.

New Zealand was "a very very small cork in a very large ocean."

"If conditions remain weak internationally, that makes our challenge more difficult," Key said.

“But it doesn’t stop the government reforming policy to make New Zealand more productive. In the end, we’re going to have in my view a fast-growing Asia on our doorstep. That will continue to be the case, eventually the United States will start growing again more rapidly, and eventually Europe will get through its problems," he said.

“New Zealand can only do what’s within its control, and that is, position those policies and make sure that we’re a competitive, productive economy.”

'Labour would be more hands-on'

Labour Party leader David Shearer said the Prime Minister's legacy to New Zealand would be the highest jobless rate in 13 years, since the last time a National government was in power.

“John Key promised he would create 170,000 new jobs. Instead we have 175,000 people looking for work and the highest jobless rate in 13 years," Shearer said.

“I know the biggest concern for New Zealanders right now is holding down a job that pays a good wage. It’s tough out there," he said.

“Today’s figures come as no surprise to New Zealanders. Week after week, more job losses are announced. Just two days ago high-tech manufacturer Rakon outsourced 60 good jobs overseas. On the same day Kiwi icon Fisher and Paykel was sold offshore, raising fears jobs will go with it."

Today's figures were "yet more disappointing news for New Zealanders, who are constantly being let down by this Government."

“What will it take for National to admit its hands-off policies aren’t working? How many more jobs will have to go? Kiwis deserve better," Shearer said.

“The last time unemployment was this high was the last time National was in power. There’s no coincidence, National brushes unemployment under the carpet. Labour is the party of jobs," he said.

“National doesn’t have the ideas or the willpower to get the economy moving and businesses flourishing. Labour does.

“Labour will be hands-on. We will work with businesses, workers and communities to create opportunities, advance new ideas and get New Zealanders working for a just wage again," Shearer said.

“We will increase our investment pool by making KiwiSaver universal and use capital gains taxes and tax credits to direct that money to good companies that create high-paying jobs."



Employment -0.4% qoq, +0.2% yoy (ASB/market expectation +0.3% qoq)

Unemployment rate 7.3% (6.8% previously, ASB expectation 6.6%, market 6.7%)

Hours worked -0.8% qoq, -2.0% yoy

Canterbury employment +5.4% qoq (ASB seasonally-adjusted estimate), +2.9% yoy

Ex-Canterbury employment -1.3% qoq (ASB seasonally-adjusted estimate), -0.4% yoy


Employment over Q3 was considerably weaker than expected, driving a second successive increase in the unemployment rate. After dropping by 6.7% in Q2, employment in Canterbury rebounded by 5.4% in the latest quarter. However, employment in the rest of the country (as a whole) fell by 1.3%, outweighing the improvement in Canterbury. The ex-Canterbury unemployment rate rose from 6.8% to 7.6%, while the unemployment rate within Canterbury fell from 6.5% to 5.4% (ASB seasonally-adjusted estimate).

The weakness outside of Canterbury was especially evident in Auckland, where employment fell by 2.0% in seasonally-adjusted terms. That is somewhat surprising given that economic activity within the region has looked stronger than most of the rest of the country. Auckland house prices have been appreciating this year and surveyed business confidence has been stronger than elsewhere.

Looking across industries reveals a very mixed picture. On the whole, industries that suffered employment losses in Q3 had shown strong gains in Q2. However, employment in the manufacturing and education and training sectors continued a trend of shrinking employment in those sectors.

Employment growth in construction has been surprisingly weak, with employment falling by 0.1% over the quarter. That is the third successive quarter of declining construction employment. However, the Quarterly Employment Survey released on Tuesday does suggest a gradual lift in construction employment. We do expect employment in the sector to pick up as the Canterbury rebuild builds momentum, but difficulty finding skilled labour may be holding back growth in this industry.   


This result reinforces the RBNZ waiting until September 2013 before lifting interest rates, notwithstanding the evident heat in the Auckland property market and the Governor’s recent remarks on housing and debt levels. Employment data over recent quarters has been volatile, especially on a regional basis, but the weakness in employment demand outside of Canterbury will become of more concern if it is sustained going forward.

TD Securities

Labour market sticker shock – but is the worst over?

Employment fell -0.5%/qtr in Sept qtr 2012, a very weak outcome compared with market (+0.3%) and TD (flat) but we were warned of a soft outcome after the QES survey reported no jobs growth.  As full-time employment fell -0.8%/qtr while part-time employment rose +1.4%/qtr, hours work slumped -0.8%/qtr and doesn’t bode well for Sept qtr GDP.

§      While not entirely reliable on a q/q basis, the falls in employment were concentrated in the cyclical sectors of manufacturing, construction and transport, while agriculture and demographic beneficiary healthcare and had the biggest jumps.  We expect a big turnaround in construction employment in subsequent reports given the surge in building approvals in recent months.

§      We forecast similar -0.2%/yr annual growth for year end, although this is the likely trough as we expect the recovery in housing and reconstruction in Christchurch to buoy the labour market over 2013, and we forecast the annual employment growth rate to pick up to +1¼-½%/yr by end-2013. 

The unemployment rate rose from 6.8% to 7.3%, surpassing the prior peak of 7% in late 2009 (chart).  However, this merely continues the sticky trend of 6-7% evident since mid-2009, and confirms that the labour market has been stagnant for over three years now.  The participation rate remained unchanged at 68.4%, as expected (about the only variable that was).

§      We forecast the unemployment rate to contract from here, to shrink back to 5¾-6% by end-2013.  The accepted NAIRU for New Zealand is 4½%.

Not much good news here A three year long stagnation in the labour market is not good news. However, the labour market is not going to be ‘fixed’ by already accommodative monetary policy being loosened by another 25bp or so. Fiscal policy (which can help the labour market) is hamstrung given PM Key and Finance Minister English are striving for budget balance over the next 3 years or so. This impotent policy combination explains why the labour market remains stagnant for so long.

The weak report prompted strong market reactions: the NZD slumped 70 pips to $US0.8188; 2yr swaps fell -5bp to 2.62% and the OIS has priced a 22% chance of easing in December, and has -15bp priced over the next twelve months. The latter pricing should be at least +25bp, as RBNZ Wheeler has set very high hurdles to easing, hence the next move remains up for the cash rate. Why? (1) favourable base effects will no longer assist the inflation rate, which is expected to swiftly jump to 2% by mid-2013 even if the NZD remains lofty; (2) inflation expectations remain well above the PTA target of 2%, and (3) house prices are rising at an alarming rate (QV measure just released jumped from 5.3% for 5.7%/yr for October).

The NZD is a sore point for the RBNZ, but Governor Wheeler has already shown the right perspective, claiming that QE is meaningless in New Zealand and that the NZD is high due to factors well beyond the control of domestic policy.

p.s. for today’s Australian labour market report – we are below consensus at -15k and u-rate rising to 5.5% with risks skewed towards rising further to 5.6% ….


Despite our forecast being almost spot on, it gives us no pleasure whatsoever to see the official unemployment rate rise to 7.3%. Actual official unemployment totalled 170,000 in September, up from 151,200 this time last year.

Adding to the bleakness is the increase in the number of ‘other jobless’ – that is, those without a job, but who do not meet the strict criteria to be classified as ‘officially unemployed’. The number of ‘other jobless’ has risen from 103,100 a year ago to 125,000 now.

That’s a total of 40,700 added to jobless numbers over the past 12 months.

These numbers add further to the compelling evidence that the New Zealand economy is increasingly fragile. Similarly sobering are the employment numbers, showing only a 1,800 increase over the past 12 months. Growth in job numbers has clearly slumped. Further weakness is confirmed when noting that full-time job numbers have declined by 16,800 over the past year.

Without changes to our policy settings, the short-term picture is not pretty, with our models projecting even further rises in jobless numbers.

With the export sector in serious strife and little demand from the domestic economy, the wisdom of the government pursuing its budget surplus target must be seriously questioned.

A change of course is urgently required if New Zealand is to avoid yet another damaging recession. Policy targets need to be refocused on resuscitating the export sector, bringing the current account deficit under control and avoiding deflation.




·         Employment fell by 0.4 percent, to be unchanged versus a year ago. Full-time employment fell 0.7 percent, while part-time employment rose 1.9 percent.

·         The unemployment rate leapt higher from 6.8 to 7.3 percent, a 13 year high. The labour force participation rate, which can often throw around the result, was unchanged. The fall in hours worked does not bode well for Q3 GDP.

·         A two-speed economy is becoming increasingly clear. Canterbury employment rose 5.4 percent. Excluding Christchurch, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Two-speed tensions will intensify.

·         Labour market statistics are proving that old adage of “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” The HLFS has been very volatile in recent years, and has jumped almost a full percent in just 9 months: we are treating the result with a degree of scepticism. Official unemployment benefit numbers have been falling. The trend in job ads has been only mildly downward, and we suspect this is probably a more reliable measure of where things are at. We suspect that the HLFS survey is not fully capturing the employment boost coming from the rebuild.

·         The labour market is weak, but the jury remains out as to the extent.  Continued job loss announcements portend more softness.

·         While somewhat sceptical over the degree of weakness, today’s data cannot be completely dismissed. It will crank up political pressure on the RBNZ, and confirms the risk profile for the OCR is down as opposed to up.  If it were not for the Canterbury rebuild and pockets of credit activity, we would be calling 50bp of cuts. However, as it stands, we think the Reserve Bank will want more data to corroborate one noisy survey. In addition, they will be watching pricing indicators to feel comfortable that a broader front of pricing pressure is not likely to emerge out of the rebuild before a cut can be delivered. This looks a March 2013 story.


  • A much weaker employment report than expected, with the unemployment rate at its highest since the late 1990s.
  • We’re taking a cautious approach to the magnitude of the reported decline, but on balance the labour market has clearly weakened.
  • A clear downside for monetary policy, but on its own probably not sufficient to provoke an OCR cut.

This was a true shocker of a Household Labour Force Survey. The economy shed 8,000 jobs in the September quarter, and New Zealand’s unemployment rate leapt up to 7.3%, a number not seen since June 1999, and much higher than anyone – us, markets, or the RBNZ – had thought plausible. The detail of the survey was every bit as weak as the headline (see below).

That said, we are taking a cautious approach to our interpretation. The HLFS has a history of throwing up wild false signals. Other labour market data we follow – Tuesday’s Quarterly Employment Survey, Westpac McDermott Miller employment confidence, businesses’ employment intentions – are saying that things are weak, but not quite this weak. We were particularly puzzled by reported weakness in construction sector employment: that doesn’t chime with all the signs of a turnaround in the construction industry that we’ve seen this year.

Still, the indicators do all agree that New Zealand’s labour market has taken a turn for the worse. This matches some recent news reports of high-profile job cuts, and suggests that export-oriented industries, such as manufacturing and wholesale trade, have shed thousands of jobs as the global downturn and high exchange rate has hit home. It also seems that businesses in growing industries are reluctant to hire yet, perhaps because they’re feeling uncertain, perhaps because they kept surplus staff on their books after the 2008/2009 recession. Finally, it may also be that in a rapidly changing economy, there is an increasing mismatch between skills available and skills demanded – this quarter saw another sharp rise in the number of long-term unemployed, even as short-term unemployment has been gradually trending down and firms continue to report that skilled staff are getting harder to get.

With a labour market as weak as this, inflation below 1%, and a host of evidence that the economy slowed sharply in the September quarter, it’s clear that the RBNZ won’t consider raising the OCR any time soon. Is an OCR cut on the table? We would say there is a risk, but more likely the OCR will remain firmly on hold. Both inflation and the labour market are lagging indicators. Had the RBNZ known a year ago that inflation and unemployment would fall to these levels, it may well have reduced the OCR at that stage. To cut the OCR now would be to chase one’s tail. The massive construction project that is the Canterbury rebuild has finally got going. Low interest rates are driving house prices higher. And some of the factors pushing inflation down over the past year (such as a rising exchange rate and the global downturn) are likely to fade over the year ahead.  

The details of the report were pervasively weak. The 0.4% fall in employment was entirely concentrated in full-time jobs, which fell 0.8%, more than unwinding gains in the June quarter. As a share of the working-age population, employment fell to 63.4% - the lowest since December 2010. Both ‘actual’ and ‘usual’ hours worked fell 1.1%. The labour force participation rate held steady at 68.4%.

The fall in employment, and rise in unemployment, was concentrated in the male workforce – the share of women in work has held steady at 58.4% for the past year. Consistent with this, there were particularly large employment declines in industries where males tend to predominate – manufacturing (down 2.3% seasonally adjusted), wholesale trade (down 1.6%), transport (down 10.1%, unwinding an equal-sized jump the previous quarter). There was also surprising weakness in construction sector employment. Employment in the sector rose just 0.1% after large declines earlier in the year. Over the past year the HLFS measure of employment in the construction sector has fallen 4%, or 7000 people – in sharp contrast to the Quarterly Employment Survey, which showed employment in the sector rising 6.2% over the same period.

The latest HLFS is now increasingly showing the same regional divergence that have been increasingly evident in other data (though we’d caution that the survey’s regional breakdown can be very volatile). There was a big lift in Canterbury employment (up 5.3% seasonally adjusted) but a much weaker picture in the North Island, particularly Auckland, where employment fell 2.1%. And the survey does show a sizeable increase in employment in the Canterbury construction sector over the past year, of about 10% or 2900 people.

There has been another increase in the share in the workforce that are long-term unemployed (unemployed for a year or more), while the share of short-term unemployed (those able to find a new job in six months or less) has been gradually trending down. This may be a sign of an increasingly ‘two-speed’ labour market, and a corresponding mismatch between availability of skills and demand for skills –one explanation for why persistently high unemployment has coincided with economic recovery.

However, we’d also note that recent weak employment growth may to some extent be the flipside of what was an unusually mild employment downturn in 2008/2009, and again following the economic disruption of the Canterbury earthquakes. The result now is that firms have sufficient workers on their books to accommodate a modest increase in production without hiring new staff.

Market reaction 
After the release the New Zealand dollar fell by 0.8 cents. The reaction on interest rate markets was more modest, with 2-year swap rates falling 4 basis points.


Q3 employment falls, unemployment rises 
-   Big surprise to market and RBNZ 
-   Especially following Tuesday's reasonable LCI and QES 
-   We do not see OCR cut, but risk of such increases 
-   Employment rate still above average 
-   Near term indicators important to watch 

Looking through the noise, the unemployment trend appears clearly and significantly weaker than what the RBNZ had factored into its September MPS. It had a point estimate of 6.7% for the Q3 unemployment rate, not the 7.3% we got today.On its own this must increase the chance that the Bank lowers the OCR at some point. We think the chances have increased. The market seems to agree, given at least the knee-jerk reaction to move in that direction. But we are not convinced that the RBNZ will actually lower the OCR.

Figures in the chart below are actual (not seasonally adjusted) figures

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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“Great to see the economies booming” just like the property market; completely defies logic?

and that supports the notion that the Auckland housing market has well and truly entered a dangerous and potentially destructive baseless housing bubble
watch out

Its all smoke and mirrors - always has been!

Nats unemployment policy seems to be working. Not so good for the tens of thousands out of work.

Get rid of unions first and then get the population loaded down with mortgage debt. Takes the sting out of peoples willingness to agitate for an alternate economic landscape for sure.

Ok so NZ has done that, no benefit to be seen but still onward with the loony right agenda.....now whats next? debtors prisons and forced cheap labour?

Are you the the relatively well known Russell Norman of Greens' fame? Welcome either way.

Somewhere between 7.9 % to 8.4% Ostrich on quarterly adjusted, although Auckland figures  are probably more able to be manipulated than other cities so possibly higher.

What do you reckon it will be this time next year Count? My call is 12-15%.

Um ....yes Scarfo, I think any break through the magic 10% will start to have a roll on effect in terms of  mortgage servicing etc. If we accept the unemployable is reasonabley static, the transient employment is fairly static, anything above 10% will be coming out of restucturing, insolvency, returning expatriots..etc..so yes a good chance of 10 plus. 

I'm picking at least 10-11% in Auckland by this time next year, outside chance of 12%
That sort of deterioration will start to prick the housing bubble (other than the central suburbs which will roll on regardless)

Okay, who let the truth out. You know that's not supposed to happen.

Dont worry about these figures - they are just gay - and the statisticians are thick as bat sh1t anyway!

What we need is a revitalized Labour party. They are pretty dissapointing at the moment, bit like Nat's light. Just so unimaginative and wooden.
Come on guy's there are a ton of alternative ideas to this junk "monetarism" and it's complete surrender to the finacialization of the economy.
It's so obviously not working (for the majority).

no we need them both gone. Like national....dinosaurs both....wont happen of course....not yet...not until we are beyond help and facing ruin.

steven....won't disagree on that....
To think that literally trillions of dollars have been printed and given to the major banks  since 2008. Could have simply paid off stressed mortgages.....

It's so obviously not working (for the majority).
It was never meant to - just for the elite and their chosen acolytes.
But I cannot comprehend how working people keep voting for something they are fooled into believeing will benefit them .They nuture unrealistic values and aspirations inconsistent with their station in life and the long hours they work for others.

Too true I'm afraid. Propaganda is to democracy what violence is to totalitarianism. The difference is those under a totalitarian regime know they're being lied to. 

How long until the violence erupts?

Oh lets see,
1) The employers and manufacturers reps like Les have been saying >0.8NZDvUS is killing them....and here is yet more evidence....
2) Inflation is 0.9% and the above rise in un-employment will be adding to the downward pressure on that....
Meanwhile I feel like the RB is playing on a fiddle while the smokes multiplies.
So yes lets self **** our economy out of sight National by doing nothing....

Auckland's unemployment rate rose 1.3% points to 8.6%

Steven Joyce is surprised with an increase in Auckland unemployment to 8.6% considering benefit requests are down...... Maybe I just lost my job and the wife still works, or vice versa. No benefit claim available here!     
For all of our sake, if you have lost your job, just get out there and register as unemployed and give Mr Joyce some true figures. 8.6% is way light in Auckland. As are all NZ. 
Don't hide in the closet and make the pollies life easier!

Blimey, the Nats work is almost done ... now that they've returned unemployment back to pre-Clark levels!  ... All that indolent growth replaced by gritty economic pain...that's how to build a nation!
They're still working on reducing the supply of housing to 1999 levels too...(demoing 8000 houses in ChCh and letting 80,000 leakies rot helps!)...
... but one things bigger and better than before 1999 ... they've truly mastered the art of debt growth ... up 150% ... good work!
Why, oh why couldn't we have elected a monkey, rather than a John Key ... our economy would have been much better for it, and parliament much more well behaved (no batsh#t in the house...),
I think we need a new bunch of Nats ... (only one condition for applicants - that their diet must solely consist of bendy yellow fruit)

no we need a new political party that breaks away from left / right doctrine and expectations and does the right thing
The "Right thing" being a combination of left / right intiatives to get the economy going:
i.e Govt building a lot more houses in Auckland + deregulating planning regulation ASAP to help get the private sector development happening, plus a land tax

What a bunch of weak minded moaners we kiwi's are.

What a fiasco! Rising public and private debt, our best companies getting flogged off to foreigners, imports booming, current account blowing out, exporters dropping like flies and now the unemployment taking a dramatic turn for the worse - it just gets better and better.
I linked previously to the median wage stats and think they may have fortold the UE story.
Median income is now $560/week up only $10 in a year - maybe due to the sharp rise in part timers. Either way this is what middle NZ is up against - median income is now less than an extremely modest living wage - if you've got a job. WTF is supporting record car sales and house prices apart from borrow and hope.

Here’s a crazy thought we could build affordable housing, maybe that would go towards reducing unemployment, provide skills and discipline to 85,000 unemployed youth. Hang on! that would affect property values and banks profits; silly idea - how could one forget it’s all about profit not people.

Will be hillarious to hear how Key, Joyce and Bennett spin this one

Apparently Key was "surprised"

You mean like he was when he realised he ...had...discussed Dot.com Alex..?
 That kind of suprised ..? or the other one like when it comes as an actual surprise..?

I doubt they bother enough to care - gangsters generally don't.

No that would employ people and make NZers better off.
The Govt is morally opposed to such things.  Look at EQC, don't get things moving to create jobs - just bog it down in bureaucracy instead...

Is this the real Chris J?
Your posts make too much sense today.

We always do unemployment, along with GDP, CPI and Current account from Stats NZ (the big four).
If it was a 'good news' story ie. unemployment fell, then it would have been reported as 'unemployment falls'.

I thought it was quite nice to see an article that had nothing to do with the Auckland property bubble, for once.

I say Stanley me old smoothex, I'm sure Amanda isn't fixated with the property bubble thingy, which is why you tend to pick up your coolade over there.
Stanley, living in Auckland it's hard to avoid the bubble, I mean you go outside and there it is, streets and streets of for sale signs choking the ambience right out of the neighborhood...Barfoot agents loitering on corners calling "get it here", the whole thing just one festering heap of greed ,fear,and distasteful indifference to the rationale of tomorrow.
Still ....I see the sun Peking through, I'd better get some bait together.

In aussie it got so thick it real estate became the subject of every second tv show.
Seems people everywhere love their tax breaks.

Updated with ASB and TD Securities reactions

These figures have been "helped" by the torrent of NZers quitting the country. If you are young, qualified, mobile and have the gumption maybe this is the time to leave.

too right
if Aus was weak and there were no jobs there then NZ's unemployment rate would be 9% plus by now

Hi matt in Auckland,
yep the figures would be significantly worse if it were not for the 50,000 or so leaving for Australia and also the earthquake rebuild.
iMHO, NZ has been successively ruined for a long period of time by weak and useless politicians. I don't think you can totally blame Donkey & blinglish for the mess - although they are currently doing a spectacularly terrible job - it all started back with rogernomics and the mess is not party centric either.
but the real problem is that the majority of kiwis don't care enough about what's happening in their own country. For most so long as the AB's are winning and they can get out for a fish or down to the beach every so often, nothing else matters. My kiwi husband hates having any kind of serious political discussion about anything.
We just sold our 4 bedder in Auckland for silly money (good location though) and now firmly back in Aus. 2 top rate tax payers gone with no kids and not coming back during our Woking lives. Why would we ??  To be had - paying for all & sundry to claim Working for Families; free student loans or the 12% of bludgers on benefits ??!!!
very sad - NZ is on a downward trajectory; a very expensive place to live with limited opportunities.. I can see it clearly from the past 15 years since I first arrived in the country.
Good place for cheap hols though if u earning AUD !!

You can't turn around terrible economic fundementals with just positive thinking. This isn't The Secret! Personally I thought Obama was just giving his usual vacuous platitude laden speach to the brain washed. Great delivery as always but style over substance. The idea that he is an agent of change lies well and truely in tatters.
Yes some companies will prosper in any economy but obviously more are failing than prospering or the unemployment rate would not be going up. Being overly negative isn't good but neither is being a pollyanna like the PM.

Updated with comments from BERL, PM Key, and Labour leader Shearer

“It’s slightly unusual data because it’s focussing on Auckland, and that runs a little counter to what we’ve actually anecdotally seen in Auckland," Key told media in Wellington.
“In fact, one of the reasons the Reserve Bank Governor gave for not cutting interest rates was because you’ve seen a housing bubble and so much movement in Auckland," Key said.
Did he just say he was surprised because they thought a housing bubble in Auckland was creating confidence and economic activity ie a nice wealth effect? Is that their underlying economic policy? I would suggest so. Pity that for every person celebrating their capital gain it looks like another two have fallen off the other end of the financial ladder.

 John Key's  mangling of the English language is increasingly embarrassing .
"and that runs a little counter to what we’ve actually anecdotally seen in Auckland," 
How can something be "seen" , "actually anecdotally".
Complete bollocks

Prosperlink....I absolutely hate hearing Key say..Nu Zullund off the cuff, then Hneew Ssealund when more on diction, or just plain feeling a little queer.....and I don't mean the midget in his pants (:>()}-]--{
 Anyhoo , just to correct Alex's interpretation of Key's surprise, it was more a case of being surprised Wheeler had not ratified with him whether it was a need to know announcement.
Perhaps Bolly did not enlighten him as to protocols on delivery of news that may be inconsistent with Govt propaganda.....silly old Bolly. ...

Video of English in there now

Hmmn English's advice to job seekers in Auckland, the country's commercial and manufacturing capital - head to Christchurch to build new infrastructure - "For people looking for jobs that's their best opportunity".  Not sure the 1000 jobs there he mentioned will dent the old figure let alone the new one.

but wait, the insurance companies aren't due to pay out for another 7 years

thank god for the earthquake!

Scum - they need locking up - or it's guns and guillotines I guess.
Of the many lessons from history the obvious ones are, firstly, that the market will decide – but always, for some queer reason, in favour of the person who's already winning. Read more

Quick, let more immigrants in.  That will push up house prices, boost the ecconomy and improve employment

or sell off our houses to chinese money printers trying to stash dirty money here...that'll boost the economy 

saddened to say that while I might have been out on house prices, I had been predicting since middle of last year that unemployment would be circa 7% plus by the end of this year, even though the useless pricks at wetspac, BNZ etc were saying 5.5%
So once again the evidence shows that the bank economists are either useless, or corrupt
And once again the total incompetence / impotence of the National govt has been shown up

It was what a year or so ago that Key said NZ had decoupled from Euorpe / USA. Now he is blaming their weakness for NZ's weakness.
This guy is a clown 

He was hoping you wouldn't guess so soon - he and his buddies are just warming up to steal what they consider their own, before you and the rest noticed.

Time ter give ol' Clementine another spin, eh, chaps and chapesses?
1. In the Beehive, on Floor niner,
Acting like he Heard the Call
Was not silly, Dipton Billy
and his minder OBEGAL

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling OBEGAL
You are lost and gone forever,
Dreadful sorry, OBEGAL.

2. Light she was, her numbers leery,
Tax takes Falling, falling, fall
Johnnies Galting, exports Halting,
debt a'rising overall

3. Drove her voters ‘cross the water
Circumstances made them gall,
Poor old Shearer, hardly Nearer
Labour mired internal brawl.

4. Unemployment going gangnam,
Bene-fish-ries at the mall,
Whose a'payin', them wot's Stayin'
Feeding them and OBEGAL

5. Listen strangers, heed the moral
Of this tragic load of bawl,
Lesser Galting, Cow-Exalting
Might just save our OBEGAL

Top Marks to Berl:
A change of course is urgently required if New Zealand is to avoid yet another damaging recession. Policy targets need to be refocused on resuscitating the export sector, bringing the current account deficit under control and avoiding deflation.
And they say they predicted the number. So, well done.
Dunce's Hat to TD Securities:
The NZD is a sore point for the RBNZ, but Governor Wheeler has already shown the right perspective, claiming that QE is meaningless in New Zealand and that the NZD is high due to factors well beyond the control of domestic policy.
Wheeler is doubling down on the policies that have caused the problem. Even if the claim that QE is meaningless in NZ (a meaningless statement in fact) is somehow valid; can they explain in first principles why some targetted controlled money printing to replace foreign borrowing would not bring down the exchange rate; why doing that would not help manufacturers and exporters, and why doing that would not help employment. Or why other specific bogey consequences would be a lot worse than increasing unemployment, and increasing debt and loss of wealth. Maybe there is a case; but make it; don't just make meaningless statements parroting nonsense. 

I cant believe I voted for these idoits.  I wont be making the same mistake next time, mind you the choices arent great are they.  So whats their next  move more gum flapping.
Or lets lower interest rates and fuel the property bubble some more, I mean who needs jobs when we can have tax free captial gain on our propertys funded by more debt.
What has national achieved, more debt, less jobs, less kiwis living in NZ and more Asians turning Auckland into little China town.

Kim Dotcom said unfortunately the Government wants to invest in roads.
"In 10-15 years more people will work and shop from home. You don't need Tarmac you need fibre." He also said that data storage centers require massive amounts of clean electricity which we have, especially if the Aluminium Smelter leaves. Our future as a nation lies on the internet. Anyone who has children can confirm this- you don't need an expert! Much of what children, adults and oldies want to do these days is internet related.
Dunedin could have funded the Pacific Cable with the money we have just wasted on a stadium. A cable would have funded the city and guarenteed a massive increase in tech, design, fashion, retail, construction etc etc jobs throughout NZ! But that is blindingly obvious. How could we expect our >$1,000,000 PA leaders to figure out what anybody with kids could have told them.

The redistribution of the benefits and efficiencies of new technology to the entire population rather than simply those who hold capital and cashflow is the core issue of 'employment' in the 21st century.  So far as I can see, the government's response is go down the pub and wait it out until the economy gets better.  HELLO, the economy is about the entire population having a share of resources.  If technology continues to outpace even skilled workers in dexterity, reliability and productivity, where to for the next generation?
Forget reassurances that if we prop up the big guys it'll get better for the rest of us.  Where's the actual evidence for that theory?

Now what I would like to see is the numbers of imported labour (visa work permits) to pick our fruit, milk our cows... and any changes.
And ask why do we import labour when we have 7.3 unemployment?
Why we have so many qualified and unqualified young people unemployed who think manual labour or hard work, or getting up early  is beneith them, and/ or consider min wage is not enough money in their pockets.
Yet min wage in these jobs more or less pays in tax what they get on the dole?
Taking this further, any government that is going to make these people work in such jobs to help this / their country thru a resscsion is political sucide because of our socially manliputed structure over the last 30yrs.
How much of our so called high unemployment is actually "no jobs" and how much is social atitude and political PC BS?