New Zealand jobless rate falls to 14-year low, hiring surges

New Zealand’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in almost 14 years in the third quarter as employment surged, sending the currency higher as traders boosted bets on interest-rate increases.

The jobless rate dropped to 3.4 per cent from 4 per cent in the second quarter, the lowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2007 and matching the lowest on record, Statistics New Zealand data showed Wednesday in Wellington. Economists expected 3.9 per cent. Employment jumped 2 per cent from the previous three months versus expectations of a 0.4 per cent gain.

Workers are in demand as New Zealand’s closed border cuts the supply of imported labor, boosting wages and adding to inflation pressures that have already prompted the central bank to begin raising interest rates. That’s despite a COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland keeping the country’s largest city in lockdown since mid-August, denting economic growth.

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