4 Nov 2011

Rise in work hours seen as employment signal

8:02 am on 4 November 2011

An increase in the numbers of hours worked is being pointed to as a possible signal employment growth is poised to pick up.

Latest unemployment figures show the numbers out of work rising to 157,000 at the end of September - 7000 higher than a year ago.

But Radio New Zealand's economics correspondent says hours worked in the past six months have increased at their fastest half-yearly pace since 2005.

ASB economist Jane Turner says that suggests employment, which rose by 25,000 in the past year, will continue to grow.

However, Goldman Sachs economists say the sluggish economy means not enough new jobs are being created for a rapid reduction in unemployment.

They expect unemployment to be still above 6% of the workforce in a year, down from 6.6% now.