New Zealand’s job numbers fell in July, largely reflecting seasonal rather than coronavirus-related effects, Stats NZ said on Friday.
Filled jobs were down by 7 418 in July compared with June 2020, to 2.2-million. This follows rises in May and June as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
Seasonal jobs typically reduce during winter
“Filled job numbers typically fall in July, as some seasonal jobs, such as fruit packing reduce their activity,” Economic Statistics Manager, Sue Chapman said.
Administrative and support services, the industry that includes fruit packing and employment placement services, had a fall of 5 907 filled jobs in July 2020 compared with June. The same industry fell by 5 055 jobs in July last year.
According to Stats NZ, the average fall in filled jobs between June and July over the last five years is 7 176 jobs.
Sharp drop in jobs in April as lockdown hit
“A sharp drop in filled jobs occurred in April, when the full COVID-19 lockdown was in place and we [have] seen a slight recovery in job numbers since then,” Chapman said.
“July was the first full month without COVID restrictions in place, but it was also the first month where many employers operated without the COVID-19 wage subsidy.”
Filled job numbers are over 30 000 lower in July than they were in March 2020, before COVID restrictions began.
It should be borne in mind that July filled job numbers are typically lower than those in March. But this year the drop was more significant, given that the average fall between March and July over the previous five years has been only 10 310 jobs.
Gross earnings for 2020 are slightly up
“We calculate filled jobs by averaging weekly jobs paid throughout the month, based on tax data. Filled jobs include jobs paid by employers who are being subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme,” Stats NZ explained.
The organisation added that gross earnings so far in 2020 were up 1.9% on earnings for the same period in 2019. Earnings have typically risen by 5 or 6% each year over recent years.
Gross earnings for January to July 2020 were NZ$77.9-billion, compared with NZ$76.5-billion in 2019. The ‘earnings’ figure includes salaries and wages paid, where employers are being subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme.