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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Job numbers fall sharply in April  Media release

28 May 2020

Job numbers fell by a record 37,500 in April 2020, as COVID-19 effects and restricted trading began to impact on the economy, Stats NZ said today.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total filled jobs fell 1.7 percent in April 2020 compared with March 2020, when it was flat.

April’s fall is the largest in percentage terms and by number since the filled jobs series began more than 20 years ago, in 1999.

“With the country in lockdown throughout most of April 2020, the impact of COVID-19 is now being seen in falling job numbers,” economic statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

“Non-essential businesses closed during the lockdown, though some people were able to work from home.”

Stats NZ calculates filled jobs by averaging weekly jobs paid during the month, based on tax data. Filled jobs include jobs paid by employers who are being subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme.

“While a fall in filled jobs does not necessarily mean employment has ceased in all cases, we saw a rise of over 30,000 people claiming the government’s Jobseeker Support benefit in April,” Ms Chapman said.

See COVID-19 data portal for data on the changing state of aspects of the economy since the COVID-19 outbreak.

By broad industry, filled jobs in the primary industries fell 4.3 percent (4,480 jobs). Filled jobs in the goods-producing industries fell 1.0 percent (4,153 jobs) and in the service industries they fell 1.7 percent (29,317 jobs).

At a lower industry level, actual (not seasonally adjusted) filled jobs fell in almost every industry between March 2020 and April 2020. The largest falls were in agriculture, forestry, and fishing (down 8,488 jobs), accommodation and food services (down 6,251 jobs), and manufacturing (down 3,797 jobs).

At a regional level, actual (not seasonally adjusted) filled jobs fell in all regions between March 2020 and April 2020.

See our dynamic map monthly changes in filled job numbers by region for more information.

Gross earnings

The amount of gross earnings paid to employees in April 2020 was $11.1 billion. This compares with $10.8 billion paid in April 2019. Gross earnings often move up and down every month due to payday timings.

“These gross earnings include earnings paid by employers subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme,” Ms Chapman said.

Additional data released

Stats NZ has released the following additional data to help better inform on the impacts of COVID-19 on jobs and earnings in the economy.

  • Filled jobs data for all lower-level industries (Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 divisional levels). Previously Stats NZ released some of the lower-level industries. This is actual data only, from May 2019 to April 2020. See Employment indicators: April 2020 and access the filled jobs CSV file under ‘Download data’.
  • Filled jobs data by region. This is actual data only, from May 2019 to April 2020. See Employment indicators: April 2020 and access the regional filled jobs CSV file under ‘Download data’.

COVID-19 data portal includes employment indicators data as well as other labour market indicators including jobseeker support benefits and wage subsidy assistance.

MIL OSI