BNZ/ SEEK Monthly Employment Report - August 2019

Doug Steel, Senior Economist at BNZ gives us an overview of July’s employment data. 

Hiring Wavering

  • Jobs ads lift in July, but trend remains down
  • Canterbury and Auckland weighing on national totals
  • Industry decomposition very mixed
  • Job ads suggest slower employment growth ahead


New job advertising numbers on managed to edge 0.6% higher in July, but this was not quite enough to recoup June’s 0.7% dip. The trend remains downward. Job ad numbers are now only 0.8% higher than a year ago, a substantial slowdown in annual growth from the 7.8% recorded last year.      

Geographically mixed

The trend in Canterbury and Auckland job ads remains downward, acting as a drag on the national figures. Canterbury job ads remain well behind year ago levels, although have shown some signs of stabilisation over recent months. Wellington, in contrast, remains strong, with double digit annual growth in its job ads from an already high level.

Construction related job ads lower than a year ago

Job ads in a number of construction-related occupations have declined over the past year. July saw some improvement in the likes of construction, design and architecture, and engineering but job ads in these industries remain below year earlier levels. This could well be associated with recent trends in Canterbury. Meanwhile,  government-related industries have maintained positive annual growth.

Employment to slow?

Recently released official employment figures for the second quarter of the year revealed solid annual growth of 1.7%. Despite a small lift in July, the downward trend in job ads on over recent months warns of a slowdown in employment growth into the second half of 2019. Meanwhile, applications per job ad continued to rise in July, a movement often associated with emerging slack in the labour market. This is something to watch given it is counter to the message from the official unemployment rate falling to 3.9% in Q2. Perhaps more applicants per ad is reflecting an increase in labour market turnover as employees look for better opportunities.