Job ad stall hints at unemployment rise

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Newspaper job advertising continues to lose ground against online ads. Photo / File
Newspaper job advertising continues to lose ground against online ads. Photo / File

A stalling in the number of job advertisements last month hints at New Zealand's unemployment rate rising in the near future, says an ANZ economist.

ANZ released data today showing total job advertisements online and in newspapers was unchanged in June, after falling 1.4 per cent the previous month.

Sharon Zöllner, a senior economist at ANZ, said job advertising typically led changes in the unemployment rate.

"Given that job ads lead changes in the unemployment rate, and the trend is fairly flat, the data suggest a risk of a near-term recoil in the unemployment rate from its sharp quarter one fall."

New Zealand's unemployment rate fell to 6.2 per cent in the March quarter, its lowest rate in three years. That was a decrease from 6.8 per cent the previous quarter, which reflected 15,000 fewer people unemployed.

Zöllner said she expected the unemployment rate to rise towards 7 per cent in the short-term, before improving again in line with generally better economic conditions around the country.

Although recent surveys showed business confidence had increased, that was not translating into hiring activity, she said.

"Businesses are saying they intend to take on more staff but they're not doing that. They're wary of false dawns."

ANZ's job ad index was only 0.7 per cent last month higher than a year ago.

Continuing a market trend, internet ads rose by 0.5 per cent in June and are now 3 per cent higher than a year ago.

On the other hand, newspaper ads lost more ground with a 2.5 per cent drop.

Job ad numbers fell in Canterbury, despite a lift in newspaper advertising. Wellington saw an increase in both online and newspaper ads. In Auckland, newspaper ads dipped but internet advertising rose.

"Wellington advertising is slowly recovering from a minor slump, whereas Canterbury is not quite managing to hang onto a much higher level of advertising," Zöllner said.

Earlier this week, Auckland Council said the region was suffering 7.3 per cent unemployment, higher than 6.2 per cent national average.

- NZ Herald

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