Job numbers fell by a record 37,500 in April 2020, as COVID-19 effects and restricted trading began to impact on the economy, Stats NZ said today.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total filled jobs fell 1.7 percent in April 2020 compared with March 2020, when it was flat.

April’s fall is the largest in percentage terms and by number since the filled jobs series began more than 20 years ago, in 1999.

“With the country in lockdown throughout most of April 2020, the impact of COVID-19 is now being seen in falling job numbers,” economic statistics manager Sue Chapman said.

“Non-essential businesses closed during the lockdown, though some people were able to work from home.”

Stats NZ calculates filled jobs by averaging weekly jobs paid during the month, based on tax data. Filled jobs include jobs paid by employers who are being subsidised by the COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme.

“While a fall in filled jobs does not necessarily mean employment has ceased in all cases, we saw a rise of over 30,000 people claiming the government’s Jobseeker Support benefit in April,” Ms Chapman said.

See COVID-19 data portal for data on the changing state of aspects of the economy since the COVID-19 outbreak.

By broad industry, filled jobs in the primary industries fell 4.3 percent (4,480 jobs). Filled jobs in the goods-producing industries fell 1.0 percent (4,153 jobs) and in the service industries they fell 1.7 percent (29,317 jobs).

At a lower industry level, actual (not seasonally adjusted) filled jobs fell in almost every industry between March 2020 and April 2020. The largest falls were in agriculture, forestry, and fishing (down 8,488 jobs), accommodation and food services (down 6,251 jobs), and manufacturing (down 3,797 jobs).

At a regional level, actual (not seasonally adjusted) filled jobs fell in all regions between March 2020 and April 2020.