4 Aug 2010

People now working longer - labour market data

7:28 am on 4 August 2010

While the labour market is showing signs of being on the mend, Goldman Sachs economist Philip Borkin says the latest data suggests people are working longer, rather than companies hiring more people.

The Labour Cost Index shows private sector wages rose 0.4% in the three months to June compared with the previous quarter.

On an annual basis, private sector wages rose 1.4%.

Separately, the Quarterly Employment Survey reported filled jobs rose by 1.4% and paid hours rose 1.2%.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, Mr Borkin says the number of jobs filled rose by just 0.3%, suggesting people are working more hours, than numbers employed.

He says it's unlikely wage growth will become an inflation concern in the medium-term, but as the market improves in the coming years, New Zealand firms may have to start offer Australian-style wages in order to lure workers back home.

Mr Borkin expects the unemployment rate, which currently stands at 6%, to rise to 6.5%, when the Household Labour Force Survey is published on Thursday.