1 Aug 2011

Jobless numbers expected to jump thanks to quake

5:31 am on 1 August 2011

Some economists are expecting jobless numbers to have risen in the second quarter thanks to a jump in unemployment in Christchurch caused by the February earthquake.

The Labour Cost Index and Quarterly Employment Survey, which measure wage growth and hours worked are out on Tuesday.

But economists are more interested in the Household Labour Force Survey measuring employment in the three months to June, which is to be issued on Thursday.

The market expects a dip or flat employment numbers after a strong start to the year.

ASB economist Jane Turner says the figures will include the Canterbury region, which was missed in the first quarter because of the earthquake.

She says employment was expected to decline by around 0.4% and this would see the unemployment rate pick up from 6.6% currently to 6.8%.

But Ms Turner says survey expectations are quite mixed which means the market expectation is around a flat result.

She says the Christchurch situation should be a temporary blip because there is anecdotal evidence that many people have either found new jobs, or left the region and found jobs elsewhere.

Ms Turner says the recovery has been remarkably broad-based in the underlying economy with some encouraging signs such as a pick up in business confidence.

Ms Turner says the Labour Cost Index is expected to show a subdued pace in wage growth.