The number of unemployed persons increased by 4 thousand to 124 thousand and employment rose by 13 thousand to 2631 thousand. The labor force participation rate edged up by 10 bps to 70.9 percent in the second quarter.
The underutilization rate went up to 12 percent from 11.9 percent, reflecting about 344 thousand New Zealanders with potential to work more.
Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labor cost index, increased 1.9 percent in Q2, following a 1.8 percent gain in the previous period. The minimum wage increase by the Government of 75 cents to $16.50 on 1 April 2018 was the main contributor to higher wage rates for the quarter. Private sector wages rose by 2.1 percent (vs 1.9 percent in the previous quarter) and the growth of public sector wages was recorded at 1.3 percent (vs 1.5 percent). On a quarterly basis, wages increased by 0.5 percent, up from a 0.3 percent climb in the previous quarter.