6 Aug 2010

Recovery not stalled yet

11:53 am on 6 August 2010

The latest jump in unemployment has alarmed some commentators, who are concerned the economic recovery may be stalling.

But Radio New Zealand's business editor says that view may be premature.

The leap in unemployment from an encouraging 6% to 6.8% in the three months to June comes on top of flat retail spending and a slow housing market, indicating domestic demand remains depressed.

That has alarmed unions and some business groups, which are demanding the Government do more to create jobs, and for the Reserve Bank to halt expected interest rate hikes.

But while the economy is hamstrung by debt-laden households and rising credit costs, there are signs the recovery is in place, though it's muted compared with those in the past.

Labour market data shows hours worked rose, suggesting firms' production has picked up, while surveys suggest businesses intend to hire more people.

Indeed, business and consumers sentiment remains upbeat.

While commodity prices have eased in recent months, they continue to be robust, due to stronger demand from Asia, while manufacturers are selling more in Australia.

Radio New Zealand's business editor says that suggests that while the economy will continue to experience setbacks, the overall trend remains positive.