The jobless rate in New Zealand rose to 5.7 percent in the first three months of 2016 from an upwardly revised 5.4 percent in the previous quarter. However, the labour force went up 1.5 percent, the largest quarterly increase since 2004, resulting in more people both employed and unemployed.
The number of unemployed persons increased 7.4 percent from the previous period to 144 thousand. Employment rose 1.2 percent to 2399 thousand, rising for men and women, including for women going into full-time employment (10,600 people). The working-age population went up 0.8 percent to 3685 thousand and labur force participation rate went up to 69 percent.
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A year earlier, the unemployment rate was higher at 5.8 percent. The number of unemployed people declined 0.3 percent and employment went up 2 percent, with nearly half of growth recorded in the Auckland region and in construction and professional services.
Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index, increased to 1.6 percent. Private sector wage inflation was up 1.8 percent, and public sector up 1.4 percent.