The number of unemployed people decreased by 4 thousand to 116 thousand, reflecting 4 thousand fewer unemployed youth (15–24-year-olds), and employment went down by 4 thousand to 2.66 million. The employment rate decreased to 67.5 percent in the first quarter of 2019 (vs 67.8 percent in Q4), the lowest rate since the second quarter of 2017. The labour force participation rate declined to 70.4 percent in the March quarter from 70.9 percent in the prior period.
For women, the unemployment rate went up to 4.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent in the previous quarter while for men dropped to 3.9 percent from 4.4 percent.
The underutilisation rate declined to 11.3 percent from 12.1 percent in the last quarter of 2018.
Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labor cost index, increased to 2.0 percent in the first quarter of 2019 from 1.9 percent in the priod period, but below market forecasts of 2.1 percent, as the public sector wages advanced 1.9 percent, higher than a 1.7 percent gain in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, private sector wages rose 2.0 percent, the same pace as in the fourth quarter of 2018. On a quarterly basis, wages increased by 0.4 percent, slowing from a 0.5 percent rise in the previous period and lower than market consensus of 0.5 percent.