NZ workers more upbeat in March quarter, shrug off quake

Article – BusinessDesk

March 23 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealanders were more upbeat about the labour market, shrugging off the impact of last month’s Christchurch earthquake, according to the Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index.

NZ workers more upbeat in March quarter, shrug off quake effect

By Paul McBeth

March 23 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealanders were more upbeat about the labour market, shrugging off the impact of last month’s Christchurch earthquake, according to the Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index.

The index rose 1.5 points to 105 in the March quarter, indicating a growing number of optimists about the state of New Zealand’s employment prospects. Future expectations slipped 1.7 to 118.1, while present conditions improved 6.3 to 85.3, indicating people are still broadly pessimistic about the current state of the labour market.

“Respondents’ perceptions of current labour market conditions are less downbeat than in December, consistent with other signs of a reviving economy in early 2011,” said Dominick Stephens, senior economist at Westpac Banking Corp. “This employment survey shows that deterioration largely unwinding. At current levels, the survey points to a modest improvement in the labour market later this year.”

Unemployment unexpectedly widened 0.4 percentage points to 6.8% in the December quarter as the economic recovery struggled to take hold, and employers pushed out hiring intentions. Last month’s quake, which killed more than 180 people and caused some $15 billion of damage, displaced a big chunk of Christchurch’s population, and the rebuilding effort isn’t expected to stoke activity until early next year.

Stephens said there wasn’t any “discernible” effect from the quake, which had a greater impact on last week’s consumer confidence survey.

Richard Miller, managing director at McDermott Miller, said public sector employees were getting more pessimistic about their job certainty, with the government’s efforts to choke spending likely to dent confidence further. Public sector confidence fell 2.9 points to 101, just above the 100 level where optimists outweigh pessimists.

That came as private sector employee confidence was on the mend, up 3.9 points to 108.4. The lift in sentiment came as private sector employees in Auckland felt more secure about job availability, future opportunities, and current and prospective pay, Miller said.

(BusinessDesk)

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url