A complex headline in The Herald:
NZ jobless rate falls below 5 per cent for first time since 2008, wage inflation muted
New Zealand’s unemployment rate fell below 5 per cent for the first time since December 2008 as employers took on more staff than expected, although that didn’t spur wages to rise at a faster pace. …
A fall in the jobless rate is superficially good news. In May the rate had jumped to 5.7%, the fastest increase in 11 years. In August the government changed the way the rate is calculated, at the stroke of a pen 5.7% became 5.2%. So the claim that the rate is now at its lowest since 2008 is not exactly comparing apples with apples.
Part of the fall is due to an increase in part-time, not full-time work.
As to the second element of the headline, “wage inflation” is what employers call pay rises. “Muted” means workers aren’t getting them. Once again much of the wage growth that did occurs was thanks to unions:
Public sector wages rose 0.7 per cent in the quarter, due largely to new collective agreements for nurses, primary teachers and police.
Plenty more stats in The Herald piece.