4 Nov 2010

Unemployment rate drops

10:37 pm on 4 November 2010

The official rate of unemployment fell sharply in the three months to the end of September.

Statistics New Zealand figures released on Thursday show 150,000 people, or 6.4% of the workforce, were out of work at the end of September.

That is a fall of 10,000 from the number unable to find a job at the end of the June quarter.

The rate of unemployment among men fell from 6.9% to 5.7%, but the figure for women rose from 6.8% to 7.2% - its highest since December 1998.

Hours worked rose, as did the participation rate.

However, UBS senior economist Robin Clements says the volatility in the data in recent quarters suggest the figures are not robust.

In the previous three quarterly releases by the government department, unemployment has fallen from 7.1% of the workforce to 6%, before jumping back up to 6.9%.

Despite this, Mr Clements believes the news for the labour market is good and jobs are gradually being created.

Recruitment firms and business groups say the sharp fall in unemployment in the September quarter is consistent with what they are seeing in the jobs market.