International

New Zealand’s unemployment drops to 4.7 percent in March 2021 quarter.


WELLINGTON, May 5 — The unemployment rate in New Zealand decreased to 4.7 percent in the March 2021 quarter, continuing to fall from its recent peak of 5.2 percent in the September 2020 quarter but remaining high compared with recent years, the statistics department Stats NZ said on Wednesday.
Unemployment rates for men and women converged at 4.7 percent, as the male rate rose from 4.5 percent last quarter and the female rate fell from 5.3 percent, Stats NZ said.
“There have been some gains in labor market outcomes, especially for women, over the past two quarters. However, annual changes indicate the labor market still hasn’t returned to pre-COVID-19 levels for men or women,” work, wealth, and wellbeing statistics senior manager Sean Broughton said in a statement.
The number of people in unemployment fell by 5,000 over the quarter, with the number of unemployed women falling by 8,000, offset by an increase of 3,000 men. Over the year, 13,000 more people were unemployed – 9,000 more men and 4,000 more women, Broughton said.
“March 2020 was the last quarter before we saw major impacts of COVID-19 on the labor market. Looking at our annual changes, from March 2020 to March 2021, let us see what the labor market was like before and after the impacts of COVID-19,” he said.
The underutilization rate increased to 12.2 percent, up 0.4 percentage points quarterly and 1.8 percentage points annually, statistics showed.
Underutilization is a broad measure of spare capacity in New Zealand’s labor market and is just as important as the unemployment rate, as “it gives us a more detailed picture of the workforce,” according to Stats NZ. Xinhua