NZ Labour Supply Outlook: Labouring past the sweet spot

  • NZ is past its labour supply sweet spot, and we foresee much lower growth in the labour force ahead
  • Even with our subpar economic growth outlook this suggests (barring a protracted downturn) the unemployment rate will remain below the 4%-4.5% ‘Goldilocks Zone’ for longer than the RBNZ expects
  • The tight labour market and elevated domestic inflation outlook requires the RBNZ to maintain a brisk pace of OCR hikes despite extremely sluggish growth. Barring global and local catastrophe, we now expect 50bp OCR hikes in October and November. After peaking at 4%, we envisage OCR cuts from 2024, but this depends on sufficient slack in the labour market being generated


Contact us

Nick Tuffley

ASB Chief Economist

Since starting out in 1997 as an economist, it's fair to say Nick has seen a few hair-raising moments over the years, including the Asian Financial Crisis and the Global Financial Crisis.

One of Nick's strengths is his ability to communicate complex ideas in a readily understandable and entertaining way.  He thrives on helping people understand the economic environment to help enrich the quality of their business or personal life. He’s proud to lead a team that has won two Forecast Accuracy Awards from Consensus Economics, and has a strong track record with their Official Cash Rate and dairy price forecasts. 

Nick grew up in Christchurch and graduated with a Master of Commerce degree from the University of Canterbury.  He learned his economic ropes at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand before a long stint as a Senior Economist at Westpac, and joined ASB as Chief Economist in 2007.

Mark Smith

Senior Economist

Mark joined ASB in 2017, with over 20 years of public and private sector experience working as an economist in New Zealand and the UK.

His resume includes lengthy stints at ANZ and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and he has also worked at the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mark's areas of specialisation include interest rate strategy, macro-economic analysis and urban economics.

Born and bred in the Waikato, Mark studied at Waikato University where he graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Economics.

Mark's key strengths are the ability to use his extensive experience, inquisitive nature, analytical ability, creativity and pragmatism to dig a little deeper and to deliver common sense solutions to tackle complex problems.

When not at work Mark likes to travel, keep fit and spend time with his friends and family.