This was the fifth consecutive quarter the unemployment rate has fallen and was the lowest rate since the last quarter of 2008, as the number of unemployed went down by 3,000 to 119 thousand and employment went up by 15 thousand to 2.618 million.
The labor force participation rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 70.8 percent in the first quarter.
The underutilisation rate fell to 11.9 percent from 12.2 percent, reflecting about 340 thousand New Zealanders with potential to work more.
Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labor cost index, stood at 1.8 percent in the first quarter, unchanged from the previous period. Private sector wages rose by 1.9 percent (vs 1.9 percent in the previous quarter) and the growth of public sector wages was recorded at 1.5 percent (vs 1.5 percent). On a quarterly basis, wages increased by 0.3 percent, down from a 0.4 percent climb in the previous quarter.