30 Jun 2017

Worker confidence at eight-year high

11:41 am on 30 June 2017

New Zealand workers are the most confident in eight years on the back of improved job security and expectations of being to find work.

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Confidence was strongest among those earning more than $70,000 a year. Photo: 123rf

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index has risen 3.5 points to 113.4 in the three months ended June, after falling in the previous quarter.

A reading over 100 means optimists outnumber pessimists.

A strong labour market driven by a robust economy was responsible for lifting sentiment to its highest level since 2008, the survey's authors said.

"Workers are reporting increases in the availability of jobs and improved job security. They also expect that job prospects will continue to improve over the coming year," said Westpac acting chief economist Michael Gordon.

Confidence was strongest among those earning more than $70,000 a year and in the so-called golden triangle of Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

However, the upbeat sentiment about jobs has not been replicated in the expectations about wages.

"The number of workers expecting their earnings to increase over the coming year remains low compared to history. Concerns about earnings are particularly pronounced among those households earning less than $50,000 per annum," Mr Gordon said.

Inflation was picking up and if wages did not keep pace then many households might find their purchasing power being eroded, he said.

Middle-age employees in cities were most confident, while sentiment among public sector workers decreased during the quarter.

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