As was generally expected, the HLFS showed retracement from the strong Q3 outturns. Employment was virtually flat in Q4, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.3%, and other measures of labour market utilisation eased from decade highs.
Wage inflation remained moderate with limited evidence that wage inflation is becoming more widespread.
The labour market is still reasonably tight and the RBNZ looks to be meeting its objectives of “supporting maximum sustainable employment within the economy”. However, the lack of an inflationary smoking gun keeps the prospect of possible OCR cuts alive.
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.
Originally hailing from sunny Nelson, Jane moved to Auckland to join the ASB team in 2008. As Senior Economist, Jane's main focus is co-ordinating the team’s macro-economic forecasts. In this key role, Jane was thrilled by the team’s twice consecutive win of the Consensus Economics Forecast Accuracy award.
During her decade-long career in economic forecasting, Jane has gained a thorough knowledge of the New Zealand economy. Her current focus is on New Zealand GDP growth, including both manufacturing and the construction sectors. She has spent time forecasting most sectors of the economy, including inflation, trade, housing, labour and financial markets.
Prior to joining ASB, Jane honed her macro-economic forecasting skills at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Jane is a qualified scarfie, attending Otago University and graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics with 1st class honours. In 2014, she took a career break from ASB to travel the world and learn to snowboard.
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.
Mike joined ASB in 2019 armed with almost 15 years of experience in applied macroeconomic and financial markets analysis.
Mike's career has been all about distilling the risks and opportunities of economic and financial market trends for business. Basically asking the "what does it all mean" question. Mike's enthusiasm and skill for drawing out practical, commercial insights from the murky world of economics has been honed over a relatively broad base of experience.
After spending the early part of his career on the tools at the Reserve Banks of both NZ and Australia, Mike had a lengthy stint at BNZ where he was NZ’s top-ranked currency strategist. His regular and topical macro research also saw him pick up several FX forecast accuracy gongs from Bloomberg.
Drawn in by the prospect of putting strategy into practice, Mike moved from Wellington to Auckland in 2013 to join Fonterra as GM Treasury Risk Management. In this role, Mike lead Fonterra’s macroeconomic research output, and was responsible for the strategy and execution of Fonterra’s foreign exchange, debt, and interest rate hedging programmes.