N.Z. Unemployment Rate Sees Big Fall

May 10, 2010

New Zealand's unemployment rate declined for the first time in more than two years last quarter as a recovery from recession stoked demand for extra workers. Finance Minister Bill English said this week the economy has come through the recession in “reasonable shape” and the jobless rate appeared to be approaching a peak. The recovering labor market adds to signs that Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard may raise the official cash rate from a record low of 2.5 percent next month. Bollard said last week he expected to raise interest rates “in coming months” provided the economy recovered as he has projected. In March, he forecast the first-quarter jobless rate would fall to 7.2 percent. Interest Rates Nine of 12 economists surveyed on April 29 said Bollard would raise the benchmark rate at his next review on June 10. Two said he would move in July and one tipped September. New Zealand’s economy will probably expand an annual average 3.2 percent this year after contracting 1.6 percent in 2009, according to central bank forecasts. Adding to signs of growing labor demand, a net 13 percent of companies surveyed last month by ANZ National said they expected to hire more workers in the next six months, the highest reading since February 2005, the bank said in a report on April 28. Skilled Workers Demand for skilled workers rose 8.3 percent in the three months ended March 31 from the three months through December, according to an index published by the Department of Labour. The index is based on vacancies posted on the nation’s three largest recruitment websites. Employment rose 1 percent or about 22,000 jobs in the first quarter to 2.18 million, compared with economists’ expectations of a 0.2 percent gain, today’s report showed. Employment fell 0.1 percent from a year earlier. With the demand for skilled workers now on the rise, for any British would-be migrants to New Zealand, now is the perfect time to register your CV at the latest specialist website: www.skilledbritishworkers.co.uk