Unemployment rate remains unchanged, hourly earnings jump 7.4 percent annually.

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New Zealand's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.3 percent in the September 2022 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. 

The latest employment data, which was released by Stats NZ on Wednesday, showed while the unemployment rate stayed steady, the underutilisation rate dipped slightly to 9 percent, from 9.2 percent last quarter.

"Unemployment and underutilisation rates have been sitting at or near record lows for more than a year," work and wellbeing statistics senior manager Becky Collett said.

The figures also show the participation rate rose to 71.7 percent and the employment rate rose to 69.3 percent. Both are the highest rates recorded since the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) began in 1986. 

Women's labour force participation and employment rate are both the highest since the series began as well,  increasing to 67.4 percent and  64.9 percent respectively. 

"Women's labour force participation rate was much lower than men's in the 1980s but has grown faster over the last 30 years, and reached a new series high this quarter," Collett said.

More Kiwis also feel safe in their job in the year to September 2022 quarter, with 52.8 percent saying there was almost no chance they would involuntarily lose their job or business in the next 12 months. 

This compares to 45.6 percent who said the same thing in the same quarter last year.

"Strong feelings of job security coincided with increasing numbers of people working in permanent roles," Collett said.

Over the year, there were 46,100 more permanent employees and 12,400 fewer fixed-term employees (not seasonally adjusted) in the labour force.

Wages continue to rise

Wages are also up in the year to the September 2022 quarter with the average ordinary time hourly earnings increasing by 7.4 percent, while wage inflation was 3.7 percent. 

Average ordinary hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), increased to $37.86, an annual increase of $2.61 or 7.4 percent.

"This is the largest annual rise in ordinary time hourly earnings since this series began in 1989," international and business performance statistics senior manager Darren Allan said.

Allan said the figures show private sector wage growth was the main driver of increasing salaries. 

Private sector average ordinary time hourly earnings increased by 8.6 percent to $36.09.

But the public sector still outpaces the private with sector hourly earnings sitting at  $44.76, up by 4.3 percent. 

Private sector wage inflation was 3.9 percent compared with 3.1 in the public sector.