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Westpac expect "a small rise in the.....>

NEW ZEALAND: Westpac expect "a small rise in the unemployment rate to 4.4% in
the March quarter. Low business confidence appears to have led to a slower pace
of hiring. The labour market has tightened in recent years, and is close to
estimates of the sustained maximum level of employment. However, the Reserve
Bank would be concerned if employment trends were heading in the wrong
direction. We expect a 0.5% rise in the Labour Cost Index (LCI) for the private
sector, lifting the annual growth rate above 2%. For the QES average hourly
earnings measure, which tends to be more responsive to the cycle, we expect a
0.8% quarterly increase. There were no special factors that we're aware of in
the March quarter, but subsequent quarters are likely to see a boost from public
sector pay agreements and the large 7.3% increase in the minimum wage in April."
MNI London Bureau | +44 0203-865-3809 |
MNI London Bureau | +44 0203-865-3809 |

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