Job numbers lift since lockdown but gross earnings lower 

Jobs numbers continue to recover from the substantial fall in April, with rises in both May and June, according to Stats NZ.

Filled jobs were up by 2,053 in June 2020, to 2.2 million. This follows a rise of 14,399 jobs in May.

“We have seen rises in the last two months following the sharp drop of over 35,000 jobs that occurred in April, when the full COVID-19 lockdown was in place,” economic statistics manager Sue Chapman said in a media release.

“New Zealand moved to alert level 1 on 8 June, so businesses operated for almost all of the month without restriction.”

“While job numbers have recovered somewhat in May and June, they are still below pre-COVID levels. Filled job numbers in March and June are usually quite similar, but for this year June is nearly 20,000 jobs lower than March.”

Amongst more significantly impacted industries, accommodation and food services is down 2,766 jobs since March, while arts and recreation services has 2,008 fewer filled jobs in June 2020 than in March 2020.

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 also noted that gross earnings for the June 2020 quarter were down $304 million (0.9 percent) on earnings in the March quarter. This is the first time since the series began in 1999 that June quarter gross earnings were lower than March.

“While job numbers dropped and then started to recover, it is clear that salaries and wages received throughout the quarter have taken a hit,” Chapman said.

“This includes salaries and wages paid where employers are being subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme, which would have covered almost all of the June quarter.”

By 3 July, the Government had paid out $12.7 billion in COVID-19 wage subsidies, since March.  Gross salaries and wages for the June quarter were $32.8 billion.

Below is the COVID-19 alert system timeline:

  • 25 March 2020: New Zealand entered COVID-19 alert level 4.
  • 27 April 2020:  New Zealand entered COVID-19 alert level 3.
  • 13 May 2020:  New Zealand entered COVID-19 alert level 2.
  • 8 June 2020: New Zealand entered COVID-19 alert level 1.
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