August 05, 2020
COVID-19 disrupts employment stats
In a surprise result, the unemployment rate dropped to 4 percent in the June quarter – but people were working fewer hours, and the number of people not in the labour force rose by 37,000.
The survey covers the period of the COVID-19 lockdown, and Statistics New Zealand says that meant people who were not actively seeking work were not counted as unemployed.
Many of those people were captured in the survey as underutilised, which is a broader measure of spare capacity in the labour market.
Since March underutilisation rose from 10.4 percent to 12.0 percent – the largest quarterly rise since the series began, while hours worked were down by over 10 percent – another record.
Labour market and household statistics senior manager Sean Broughton says at the end of June, there were around 39,000 more recipients of Jobseeker Support than at the end of March, although some might work part-time and are therefore employed.
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