Employment confidence rises, job search toughens – report

Employment confidence has turned positive for the first time since mid-2023, but workers say it is getting harder to find a job.

The Westpac McDermott Miller employment confidence index rose 4.7 points to 104.4 in the March quarter – a reading above 100 indicated optimists outweighed the pessimists.

However, Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the fall in perceptions about current job opportunities was consistent with its forecast of a further rise in unemployment.

It was the sixth straight quarter where such perceptions fell.

“This question is of particular interest to us because it has tended to provide a good early lead on the unemployment rate,” Gordon said.

“The latest employment confidence measure suggests a further, but still gradual, rise in unemployment in the months ahead,” he said.

Workers also felt more confident about their job security and were more positive about earnings growth.

“Now with some relief coming on the inflation front, more workers are likely to feel that they’re getting ahead,” Gordon said.

McDermott Miller market research director Imogen Rendall said private sector workers recorded a jump in confidence, rising more than 10 points.

“In contrast, confidence amongst employees working in the public sector has seen only a small increase [but remained in positive territory],” Rendall said.

The report said the survey was done before some of the recent announcements about job cuts in the public sector.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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