New Zealand Aoteroa’s unemployment rate has risen slightly in the June quarter according to Stats NZ.
Despite expectations it would fall, unemployment rose from 3.2% in the previous quarter to 3.3%.
In good news however, wages saw a marked increase, with the private sector labour cost index rising 3.4% annually – the highest since late 2008.
The average hourly wage also rose 6.4% to $36.97 an hour.
Social Development and Employment Minister, Carmel Sepuloni said the unemployment figures showed the Government’s economic plan was working despite the increase.
“Unemployment continues to be very low and firms are continuing to hire despite the uncertain global environment,” Minister Sepuloni said.
“Wages are rising to help with cost of living pressures while the Government is doing its bit to support household incomes.”
The Minister noted that New Zealand’s unemployment rate compares favourably to the United States (3.6%), Australia and the United Kingdom (both 3.8%), and the OECD average of 5%.
There are also 16% fewer people out of work compared with this time last year.
“We recognise that unemployment is likely to move around in what has been a volatile and uncertain global environment,” Minister Sepuloni said.
“Despite the slight rise in the total number of those out of work, the number of Māori and Pacific unemployed fell 2.3% and 2.4% respectively on a year ago, which is extremely positive.”
“Our focus is keeping the economy moving in the right direction,” said Ms Sepuloni.