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Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence March 2024

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index (ECI) rose by 4.7 points to 104.4 in the March quarter. This takes the index back into net positive territory, after some softer readings in the second half of 2023.

“Sentiment was stronger on most measures,” said Westpac Senior Economist Michael Gordon. “New Zealanders are feeling more confident about their job prospects and security in the year ahead, and are seeing a modest improvement in their earnings.”

The exception was in people’s perceptions about current job opportunities, which have now fallen for six straight quarters. “This measure provides a good lead on trends in the unemployment rate,” noted Mr Gordon. “The latest results fit with our outlook for a further gradual rise in unemployment in the months ahead.”

“Private sector employees have experienced a jump in confidence from last quarter (108.7, an increase of 10.4 points from December 2023) and are back to the level last observed a year ago. In contrast, confidence amongst employees working in the public sector has seen only a small increase, up 3.2 points since last quarter at 105.7,” noted Imogen Rendall, Market Research Director of McDermott Miller Limited.

“Private sector employees are feeling much more positive about their future job security, at a level last seen in June 2019. They are also feeling considerably more upbeat about future job opportunities in New Zealand compared with their public sector counterparts,” observed Ms Rendall.

A full description of the background and specifications of the survey are attached. The survey was conducted over 1-13 March 2024, with a sample size of 1,550. An index number over 100 indicates that optimists outnumber pessimists. The margin of error of the survey is 2.5%.

Acknowledgement

The Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index is owned by McDermott Miller Limited. Westpac McDermott Miller should be acknowledged as the source when citing the Employment Confidence Survey and Index. Graphs supplied may be reproduced by the news media provided Westpac McDermott Miller is acknowledged as the source.

 

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