New Zealand´s unemployment rate showed a surprising improvement to 4% during the midst of the nation´s virus lockdown, although the headline number doesn´t tell the full story and joblessness is likely to increase in the months ahead.
Still, the figure was far better than most people expected and came as welcome news to the government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ahead of a general election next month.
The figures from Statistics New Zealand showed the unemployment rate in the quarter ending June fell from 4.2% in the previous quarter. But the number of hours worked also fell a record 10% and the number of people not in the labor force rose.
Because people who aren´t actively seeking work are not counted as unemployed, the figures didn´t reflect many job losses because most people couldn´t search for jobs during the lockdown. And many workers have been protected by a government-funded wage subsidy scheme during the pandemic which is due to expire next month.