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N.Z. Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Rises as Workforce Swells

  • Participation rate climbs to record 70.5% in fourth quarter
  • Kiwi falls as economists expected unemployment to drop
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Photographer: The AGE/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
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New Zealand’s jobless rate unexpectedly rose from an eight-year low in the final quarter of 2016 as more people sought work than could find jobs. The currency fell half a U.S. cent.

While the jobless rate rose, employment grew more than economists expected, adding to signs of a tightening New Zealand labor market that could help Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler’s efforts to lift inflation back to the middle of his 1-3 percent target band. At the same time, employers are able to fill positions without big wage increases because of record numbers of immigrants seeking work.