COMMENT:

Beneath the solid headline numbers, there are signs that suggest the job market is worse than it looks - with further softening to come.

Unemployment ticked up slightly to 4.2 per cent in the September quarter and wage growth (the Labour Cost Index) cracked a decade high at 2.4 per cent.

But economists warn that the labour market data is lagging economic activity and will likely deteriorate further following indicators in business confidence surveys.

"September quarter data showed a few cracks are starting to appear in NZ's previously rock-solid labour market," said ASB senior economist Mike Jones.

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Employment growth

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