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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Mid-winter fall in job numbers – Media release

28 August 2020

Job numbers fell in July, largely reflecting seasonal rather than COVID-19 related effects, Stats NZ said today.

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.

“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 2019.

The average fall in filled jobs between June and July over the last five years is 7,176 jobs.

“A sharp drop in filled jobs occurred in April, when the full COVID-19 lockdown was in place and we had seen a slight recovery in job numbers since then,” Ms 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. July filled job numbers are typically lower than those in March – the average fall between March and July over the previous five years has been 10,310 jobs.

Following COVID restrictions the number of filled jobs in retail, accommodation, and food services fell by 4,762. In the same period, March to July 2020, filled jobs in government and health-related industries rose by 5,405 jobs.

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.

Gross earnings only slightly up on same time last year

Gross earnings so far in 2020 were up 1.9 percent on earnings for the same period in 2019. Earnings have typically risen by 5 or 6 percent each year over recent years. Gross earnings for January to July 2020 were $77.9 billion, compared with $76.5 billion in 2019. Earnings includes salaries and wages paid where employers are being subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme.;

By 31 July, the Government had paid out $13.1 billion in COVID-19 wage subsidies, since March 2020.

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.

12 August 2020: Auckland region entered COVID-19 alert level 3, and rest of New Zealand entered COVID-19 alert level 2.