The unemployment rate has unexpectedly fallen as more people found jobs in the rebound from the pandemic.

The unemployment rate in the three months ended December fell to 4.9 percent from 5.3 percent in the previous quarter.

Expectations had been for a rise to 5.6 percent.

Stats NZ says the number of unemployed fell 10,000 during the quarter, with a marked rise in construction jobs.

The underutilisation rate, a measure of slack in the jobs market, fell to 11.9 percent from 13.2 percent.

Wage growth remained subdued with the annual rate easing slightly to 1.5 percent.

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