21 Jan 2020

Optimism in the labour market, pessimism in job prospects

12:54 pm on 21 January 2020

Workers are feeling a touch more optimistic about the labour market, helped by a rise in wages, but are downbeat on their chances of finding a job.

Magnifying glass over Jobs section of newspaper classifieds

Photo: 123rf

The Westpac-McDermott-Miller Employment Confidence index rose 1.8 points to 102.8 in December.

Wage growth was at its strongest in 10 years, and nearly a quarter of respondents said they had a pay rise in the past year, with 28 percent expecting to get one in the coming year.

However, that confidence was not carried through in job prospects.

"Households remain very pessimistic about their chances of finding a new job, and they don't expect that the number of job openings will increase by much over the year ahead," Westpac senior economist Satish Ranchhod said.

He said more households were also feeling less secure about holding on to their jobs, which matched other signs of the slowing labour market.

The labour market is usually one of the last sectors in the economy to reflect a slowdown in activity.

Employment confidence was strongest among the 18-29 age group, and in Bay of Plenty and Auckland, and weakest in those aged over 50 and those living in Northland, the central North Island and Canterbury.