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New Zealand unemployment rate hits 5.3%



A pedestrian walks along a near-empty street in Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. New Zealand’s economy will endure a shallower recession than previously expected but the coronavirus pandemic will have a longer impact on the country’s finances, according to government projections. Photographer: Brendon O’Hagan/Bloomberg

The number of unemployed people rose by a record of 37,000 to reach 151,000 in the September 2020 quarter.

New Zealand’s statistics department Stats NZ said on Wednesday adding that the impact of COVID-19 has hit the labor market.

Stats NZ said in the September 2020 quarter, there were 37,000 more unemployed people, an increase of 32.5 per cent since the June 2020 quarter.

There were 22,000 fewer employed people this quarter than in the June 2020 quarter, with the unemployment rate hitting 5.3 per cent due to COVID-19. The underutilisation rate rose to 13.2 per cent.

Statistics showed that the 37,000 rise is the largest quarterly rise in unemployment since the series began in 1986.

Stats NZ said that the next largest rise in a single quarter was recorded in the June 2009 quarter during the global financial crisis, when the number of unemployed people rose by 18,000.

Women have fared worse than men across key labor market measures since COVID-19 and alert level measures began impacting New Zealand’s labor market, Stats NZ said.

Labor market manager Andrew Neal said “Unemployment rates for men and women rose by similar amounts over the quarter, up 1.2 and 1.3 percentage points, respectively, but looking at quarterly changes right now only tells part of the story.

“The March 2020 quarter captured New Zealand’s labor market prior to the impact of COVID-19. Changes between then and the September 2020 quarter show that while both sexes have been negatively impacted, women have been worse affected.’’

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