5 Aug 2015

Labour market hit by slowing economy

2:32 pm on 5 August 2015

The labour market is starting to feel the effects of the slowing economy.

Unemployment has remained above 8 percent in provinces such as Northland, Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa.

Photo: RNZ

Official figures show the unemployment rate increased by 3000 people in the three months to June and is now at 5.9 percent, or 148,000 people.

Unemployment rose slightly as the number of jobs created failed to keep up with the expanding workforce.

But the increase in the number of jobs and the growing economy pushed up employment for the 11th successive quarter.

Statistics New Zealand said it was the second longest period of expansion since the 1990s.

However there were signs employment growth was slowing as the economy cools.

Wage growth subdued

Meanwhile wage growth remained subdued, rising 1.6 percent for the year.

A senior economist at Westpac, Satish Ranchhod, said momentum was turning.

"What we are seeing when we look into the underlying detail is a picture of an economy that is losing momentum."

"When we look to the second half of this year, it's likely we are going to see it slowing by even more," he added.

Inflation stands at 0.3 percent.

Most economists expect the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates further to help prop up growth.

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