NZ time: Thursday 13th December 2018, 5:04AM

Employment Statistics: check out the stability of employment in New Zealand

Automotive Employment NZ Ltd has posted employment statistics virtually every quarter since 2004.

Scroll down to read  historical data and discover the consistency of employment opportunities throughout the years Labour Market Statistics:

Labour Market Statistics: September 2018 Quarter

Key facts

Labour market at a glance

  • Unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate fell to 11.3 percent.
  • Employment rate rose to 68.3 percent.
  • Filled jobs rose 0.3 percent.
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings rose to $31.34.
  • Wage rates increased 1.8 percent annually.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in the September 2018 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

This is down from 4.4 percent last quarter and is the lowest unemployment rate since the June 2008 quarter, when it was 3.8 percent.

Automotive Employment NZ recorded New Zealand’s historical low of just 3.4% in 2004. At the time Social Development Minster, Steve Maharey commented, “Reaching a world-leading 3.4 per cent unemployment rate is proof of the economic and social strength of 21st century New Zealand” It now seems New Zealand is well on track to better the world’s lowest unemployment once again.

New Zealand’s impressive unemployment record in graphically demonstrated below.  Largely unemployment has remained low and even during the Global Financial Crisis unemployment remained low.

The fall in the unemployment rate in the latest quarter reflected a fall in the number of unemployed people (down 13,000) and a strong rise in employment (up 29,000). This quarter’s employment rate rose to 68.3 percent, the highest rate since the series began more than 30 years ago.

The fall in unemployment, in tandem with a fall in underemployment, was key to the underutilisation rate falling to 11.3 percent.

“While this quarter’s unemployment rate is outside market expectations, we know New Zealand has a small economy with a dynamic labour market, and large changes, both up and down, have happened before – in late 2012 and 2015,” labour market and household statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said.

“We also know labour market measures tend to lag behind other economic indicators, which have shown strong and widespread growth in 2018. We’ve seen population growth in the regions, reports of more job ads, high levels of migration and tourism, growing retail sales, and rising exports.”

 Regional unemployment and underutilisation

In the year to the September 2018 quarter, these regions had significant unemployment rate decreases:

  • Auckland – 3.7 percent (down 0.9 percentage points)
  • Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay – 4.1 percent (down 4.7 percentage points)
  • Manawatu-Wanganui – 3.6 percent (down 1.9 percentage points).

 

 

Labour Market Statistics: June 2018 Quarter

Key facts

Labour market at a glance

  • Unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate rose to 12.0 percent.
  • Employment rate was unchanged at 67.7 percent.
  • Filled jobs rose 0.8 percent.
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings increased to $31.00.
  • Annual wage inflation increased 1.9 percent.

The number of unemployed men rose 5,000, partly offset by 1,000 fewer unemployed women. This resulted in a total of 124,000 unemployed people in the June 2018 quarter.

The rise in underutilisation reflects nearly equal contributions from people unemployed and underemployed, up 4,000 and 5,000, respectively.

Unemployment and underutilisation

In the June 2018 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment and underutilisation rates both rose slightly.

  • The unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent (up 0.1 percentage points).
  • The underutilisation rate rose to 12.0 percent (up 0.1 percentage points).
  • The unemployment rate for men rose to 4.3 percent (up 0.3 percentage points), while for women it fell to 4.7 percent (down 0.2 percentage points).
  • The underutilisation rate for men rose to 10.0 percent (up 0.6 percentage points), while for women, it fell to 14.3 percent (down 0.3 percentage points)he underutilisation rate is just as important as the unemployment rate, as it provides a broader gauge of untapped capacity in New Zealand’s labour market than the unemployment rate alone. It better captures differences in the groups of interest to policy-makers.The number of underemployed men rose to 39,000 (up 4,000), while the number of women underemployed rose to 78,000 (up 1,000).People who are underemployed are those in part-time employment who would like to, and are available to, work more hours.In the June 2018 quarter, Southland had the lowest unadjusted regional unemployment rate at 3.0 percent, while Manawatu-Wanganui had the highest at 6.6 percent.

Labour Market Statistics: March 2018 Quarter

Key facts

Labour market at a glance

  • Unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate fell to 11.9 percent.
  • Employment rate was unchanged at 67.7 percent.
  • Filled jobs fell 0.2 percent.
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings increased to $30.96.
  • Annual wage inflation remained unchanged at 1.8 percent.

Unemployment, underutilisation, and NEET

In the March 2018 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment and underutilisation rates both fell.

  • The unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent, down from 4.5 percent
  • The underutilisation rate fell to 11.9 percent, down from 12.2 percent
  • The unemployment rates for men and women fell to 3.9 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively.

The underutilisation rate is as important as the unemployment rate, as it provides a more inclusive view of changes in New Zealand’s labour market than the unemployment rate alone. It better captures differences in the groups of interest to policy-makers.

The fall in underutilisation mainly reflects 9,000 fewer people being underemployed, which includes 8,000 fewer women.

People who are underemployed are those in part-time employment who would like to, and are available to, work more hours.

  • The underutilisation rate for women fell to 14.6 percent, down from 15.2 percent in the December 2017 quarter.
  • The underutilisation rate for men was unchanged, at 9.4 percent.

Compared with the March 2017 quarter, there were 4,500 fewer people underutilised in Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay. This was mainly due to 2,800 fewer underutilised women.

The seasonally adjusted rate for young people (15–24 years) who were not in employment, education, or training (NEET) rose to 12.4 percent, up from 11.8 percent in the December 2017 quarter.

This reflects a rise in the NEET rate for men, to 12.1 percent (from 10.2 percent), which was partly offset by a fall for women, to 12.8 percent (from 13.6 percent).

Employment and the labour force

The employment rate was unchanged in the March 2018 quarter, at 67.7 percent, as employment kept pace with growth in the working-age population. Women were at their highest-ever rate of employment (62.6 percent).

In the latest quarter, employment rose 0.6 percent, the majority of which came from more women (up 0.8 percent) than men (up 0.4 percent) gaining employment. Annually, employment increased 3.1 percent, which was also driven by women (up 3.7 percent) when compared with men (up 2.6 percent).

Compared with the same quarter in 2017, employment growth was strongest in:

  • Auckland, up 33,700 (3.8 percent)
  • Otago, up 11,600 (9.8 percent)
  • Canterbury, up 9,600 (2.8 percent)
  • Waikato, up 9,300 (3.9 percent).

    Industry and occupation

    In the March 2018 quarter, 12,000 (0.6 percent) more people were working full time and 3,000 (0.5 percent) more were working part time. Rises in full-time and part-time work were mainly influenced by women, up 9,000 and 2,000, respectively.

    In the year to the March 2018 quarter, the following occupations increased:

    • managers, up 33,600 (6.8 percent)
    • professionals, up 29,000 (4.9 percent)
    • community and personal services workers, up 20,200 (9.3 percent).

    The increase in community and personal services workers mainly reflected people working as hospitality workers, emergency service personnel, or personal carers.

    Annually, employment (as measured by the HLFS) increased in several industries. The main industries with significant growth were:

    • professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services, up 22,300 (7.2 percent)
    • retail trade and accommodation services, up 20,100 (5.3 percent)
    • public administration and safety, up 12,600 (9.1 percent).

    Filled jobs (as measured by the QES) increased 1.2 percent (unadjusted) for the year to the March 2018 quarter – 22,400 more jobs. The three main industries contributing to this growth were:

    • professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services, up 12,200 jobs (4.5 percent)
    • retail trade, up 10,700 (5.5 percent)
    • education and training, up 9,500 (7.5 percent).

    Wages

    All the following movements are for the year to the March 2018 quarter.

    Average ordinary time hourly earnings in the QES increased 3.5 percent to $30.96, the largest annual increase since the March 2012 quarter. Nearly one-third of this growth came from the healthcare and social assistance, and the professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services industries.

    Average total weekly earnings for a full-time equivalent employee increased 3.9 percent, to $1,204.85. This was the largest annual increase since the September 2011 quarter.

    The number of part-time jobs decreased 4.9 percent over the year, while full-time jobs increased 2.9 percent. A fall in the proportion of people employed part-time can raise average earnings because part-time jobs generally have lower wage rates than full-time positions.

    Growth in QES average hourly earnings is often compared with the LCI salary and ordinary time wage rates. However, the QES average earnings statistics reflect not only changes in salary and wage rates, but also compositional changes between and within businesses in surveyed industries (eg people shifting to full-time employment or to higher paying industries).

Labour Market Statistics: December 2017 Quarter

Key facts

Labour market at a glance

  • Unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate rose to 12.1 percent.
  • Employment rate remained unchanged at 67.8 percent.
  • Filled jobs rose 0.3 percent.
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings increased to $30.68.Annual wage inflation increased 1.8 percent
  • Annual wage inflation increased 1.8 percent. 

Unemployment, underutilisation, and NEET

In the December 2017 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent (down 0.1 percentage points). This is the lowest unemployment rate since the December 2008 quarter. The number of unemployed people fell 4,000, from 126,000 to 122,000.

  • The unemployment rate for men remained at 4.0 percent, still the lowest since the June 2008 quarter.
  • The unemployment rate for women fell to 5.0 percent (down 0.3 percentage points from last quarter).

In the December 2017 quarter, the seasonally adjusted not in employment, education, or training (NEET) rate for the 15–24 years age group rose to 11.9 percent (up 0.6 percentage points from last quarter). This mainly reflected a rise in males aged 15–19 years who were not in the labour force, not in education, and not caregiving.

  • The NEET rate for the 15–19 years age group increased to 8.5 percent (up 1.3 percentage points).
  • The NEET rate for the 20–24 years age group remained unchanged at 14.8 percent.

Employment and the labour force

In the December 2017 quarter, the labour force participation rate fell to 71.0 percent (down 0.1 percentage points), as growth in the working-age population outpaced growth in the labour force.

The labour force grew 8,000 (up 0.3 percent) people to 2,727,000, while the working-age population grew 18,000 (up 0.5 percent) people to 3,843,000.

The employment rate remained at 67.8 percent, as growth in employment kept pace with growth in the working-age population. This is still the highest rate since the series began in 1986.

In the December 2017 quarter, 13,000 more people were employed full-time (up 0.6 percent), and 1,000 fewer workers were employed part-time (down 0.2 percent), compared with the September 2017 quarter.

Employment by sex, age, and region

For the year ended December 2017, 92,600 more people were employed, with men and women making about equal contributions, up 49,400 (3.7 percent) and 43,300 (3.6 percent), respectively.

Nearly half the annual growth in employment came from those aged 25–34 years, as employment amongst this age group grew 43,300

Labour Market Statistics September 2017 Quarter

Labour market at a glance

  • Unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent.
  • Underutilisation rate unchanged at 11.8 percent.
  • Employment rate rises to 67.8 percent.
  • Wage rates grow 1.9 percent.
Employment at a glance (seasonally adjusted) Sep 2017
 quarter
Quarterly
change
Annual
change
Percent Percentage points
Unemployment rate 4.6 -0.2 -0.3
Employment rate 67.8 +1.1 +1.2
Labour force participation rate 71.1 +1.0 +1.0
(000) Percent
Unemployed 126 -1.2 -2.0
Employed 2,593 +2.2 +4.2
Filled jobs  1,935 +0.2 +2.5
Working-age population 3,826 +0.6 +2.4
Wages at a glance Index Percent
Wage inflation (salary and wage rates, including overtime) All sectors 1153 +0.6 +1.9
Private sector 1159 +0.7 +1.9
Public sector 1134 +0.4 +1.5
LCI analytical unadjusted 1276 +0.9 +3.4
 Level Percent
Average ordinary time hourly earnings $30.45 +1.2 +2.2
Hours at a glance (figures seasonally adjusted)  Level Percent
Average weekly paid hours for FTEs (QES) Ordinary time 37.92 +0.1 +0.2
Total 38.70 +0.0 +0.3
 (Million) Percent
Total weekly paid hours (QES) 60.1 +0.8 +3.0
Total actual weekly hours worked (HLFS) 87.7 +2.4 +4.5
Note:
LCI – Labour Cost Index (salary and wage rates)
QES – Quarterly Employment Survey
HLFS – Household Labour Force Survey

Unemployment, underutilisation, and NEET

In the September 2017 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent (down 0.2 percentage points from the June quarter), the lowest unemployment rate since the December 2008 quarter. The number of unemployed people fell 2,000 from 128,000 to 126,000.

  • The unemployment rate for men fell to 4.1 percent (down 0.6 percentage points).
  • The unemployment rate for women rose to 5.3 percent (up 0.4 percentage points).
percent unemployment rate by sex seasonally adjusted, September 2008 to September 2017Hover to see exact values. Click legend to filter categories.MaleFemaleTotalSep-08Dec-08Mar-09Jun-09Sep-09Dec-09Mar-10Jun-10Sep-10Dec-10Mar-11Jun-11Sep-11Dec-11Mar-12Jun-12Sep-12Dec-12Mar-13Jun-13Sep-13Dec-13Mar-14Jun-14Sep-14Dec-14Mar-15Jun-15Sep-15Dec-15Mar-16Jun-16Sep-16Dec-16Mar-17Jun-17Sep-1734567Source: Stats NZ

The seasonally adjusted underutilisation rate remained at 11.8 percent over the quarter and dropped 0.5 percentage points annually. This annual decrease was primarily due to fewer available potential job seekers (those who wanted to work and were available in the reference week but were not actively applying for jobs).

The underutilisation rate measures the potential labour supply and unmet need for work. An underutilised person may be unemployed, underemployed (wanting more hours), an unavailable jobseeker, or an available potential jobseeker. Looking at the underutilisation rate in combination with the unemployment rate provides a more comprehensive view of New Zealand’s labour market.

The seasonally adjusted not in employment, education, or training (NEET) rate for the 15–24 years age group remained at 11.2 percent over the quarter.

  • The NEET rate for the 15–19 years age group fell to 7.2 percent (down 1.5 percentage points).
  • The NEET rate for the 20–24 years age group rose to 14.8 percent (up 1.5 percentage points).

Employment and the labour force

Over the year to September 2017, the employment rate increased to 67.8 percent (up 1.2 percentage points), the highest rate since the series began in 1986. This follows a 0.4 percent contraction in the June 2017 quarter.

This increase is a result of employment growth exceeding growth in the working-age population over the year.

PercentQuarterly employment rateSeptember 2014 to September 2017Hover to see exact values. Click legend to filter categories.TrendSeasonally adjustedSep-14Dec-14Mar-15Jun-15Sep-15Dec-15Mar-16Jun-16Sep-16Dec-16Mar-17Jun-17Sep-176465666768Sep-16● Trend: 66.6● Seasonally adjusted: 66.6Source: Stats NZ

The labour force participation rate rose 1.0 percentage points over the quarter to 71.1 percent, as 54,000 more people entered the labour force.

Employment by sex, age, and ethnicity

Over the year to September 2017 (unadjusted), 102,700 more people were employed (up 4.2 percent). Men and women made roughly equal contributions to the annual increase.

  • Male employment increased 52,400 (up 4.0 percent).
  • Female employment increased 50,300 (up 4.3 percent).

87,700 (85.7 percent) of the growth in employment was from those employed full time.

Over half the annual growth in employment came from those aged 25–39, as employment amongst that age group grew 53,200. There was also statistically significant employment growth for those aged 55–59 and 60–64.

Over the year, the ethnicities that changed significantly in employment were:

  • Asian – up 36,000 (11.3 percent)
  • Māori – up 21,900 (7.6 percent)
  • Other – up 23,000 (114.0 percent). This group is primarily made up of those that self-identify ethnically as New Zealanders.

Employment by region

In the year to the September 2017 quarter, the greatest employment growth was in the following regions:

  • Auckland – up 46,800 (5.5 percent)
  • Waikato – up 21,600 (9.4 percent)
  • Bay of Plenty – up 13,300 (9.2 percent)
  • Wellington – up 10,000 (3.5 percent).

 

Labour Market Statistics: June 2017 quarter

Unemployment rate down to 4.8 percent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in the June 2017 quarter, falling 0.1 percentage points from 4.9 percent in the March 2017 quarter (down 3,000 people). This is the lowest unemployment rate since the December 2008 quarter, when it was 4.4 percent.

The fall in unemployment over the quarter came primarily from 10,000 fewer women being unemployed. This pushed the female unemployment rate down 0.8 percentage points to 4.9 percent – the lowest unemployment rate for women since the March 2009 quarter.

The male unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percentage points (up 7,000 men) to 4.7 percent in the June 2017 quarter.

Annual unemployment rate down in Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough/West Coast

The only region with a statistically significant annual change in the unemployment rate was the Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough/ West Coast region, which dropped 2.9 percentage points to 3.0 percent. This represents 2,800 fewer unemployed people in the region.

Labour force participation rate down

The labour force participation rate decreased by 0.6 percentage points (down 7,000 people) over the latest quarter, to 70.0 percent. The labour force comprises people in the working-age population who are either employed or unemployed. In the June 2017 quarter, 9,000 fewer women were in the labour force (down 0.7 percent) than in the March 2017 quarter.

The number of people ‘not in the labour force’ (NILF) increased by 26,000 over the June 2017 quarter (up 2.4 percent) – 20,000 of those who joined the NILF group were women.

Employment up over the year

Over the year to the June 2017 quarter, the unadjusted employment rate increased to 66.5 percent (up 0.4 percentage points) from 66.1 percent in the June 2016 quarter. This demonstrated 76,200 more people were employed over the year(up 3.1 percent).

Auckland had a statistically significant increase of 35,700 more people in employment over the June 2017 year (up 4.2 percent). Significant employment growth also occurred in Waikato (14,200 people, up 6.2 percent); Otago (5,800 people, up 5.1 percent); and Wellington (12,500, up 4.4 percent).

PercentRegionAnnual change in regional contribution to employment growthJune 2016 to June 2017AucklandWaikatoWellingtonOtagoCanterburyTasman / Nelson / Marlborough / We…Bay of PlentyNorthlandTaranakiGisborne/Hawke’s BayManawatu/WanganuiSouthland-1001020304050Source: Stats NZ

Employment up across multiple industries

Over the June 2017 year, several industries (as measured by the HLFS) had significant employment growth:

  • professional, scientific, technical, administration and support services industry up 31,600 (11.1 percent)
  • construction up 18,000 (8.3 percent)
  • education and training up 16,700 (7.8 percent)
  • transport, postal, and warehousing up 11,700 (12.4 percent)
  • rental, hiring, and real estate services up 10,100 (24.4 percent).

Unadjusted filled jobs (as measured by the QES) increased 3.0 percent (up 56,600 jobs) over the year. By industry, the main contributors to this growth were:

  • professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support services (up 23,000 jobs)
  • construction (up 18,200 jobs)
  • accommodation and food services (up 15,600 jobs).

March 2017 Quarter

Unemployment rate below 5 percent

In the March 2017 quarter, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 4.9 percent. The fall reflected 6,000 fewer people being unemployed over the quarter.

People who are unemployed are those who are available to work, and had either actively sought work or had a new job to start within the next four weeks.

 

Compared with the March 2016 quarter, the unemployment rate also dropped 0.3 percentage points, from 5.2 percent, and there were 1,000 fewer people unemployed.

The trend series shows the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent, down from 5.1 percent in the December 2016 quarter and 5.2 percent a year ago. The trend series removes both the seasonal and irregular component of the series and reveals the underlying direction of movement.

 

PercentUnemployment rateQuarterly, March 2008 – 2017TrendSeasonally adjustedMar-08Mar-09Mar-10Mar-11Mar-12Mar-13Mar-14Mar-15Mar-16Mar-1734567Source: Stats NZ

Fewer men unemployed

The fall in the number of people unemployed over the latest quarter came primarily from fewer men being unemployed. The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed men fell 11.7 percent (8,000 men) over the quarter, which pushed their unemployment rate down 0.6 percentage points, to 4.2 percent. This is the lowest unemployment rate for men since the December 2008 quarter, when it was also 4.2 percent.

There was a 2.5 percent increase in the number of women (2,000) unemployed over the March 2017 quarter, but their unemployment rate was unchanged, at 5.7 percent.

Fewer underutilised people in the labour market

Underutilisation is a measure of the potential labour supply and unmet need for work. An underutilised person may be unemployed, underemployed, an unavailable jobseeker, or an available potential jobseeker.

In the March 2017 quarter, the unadjusted underutilisation rate fell 0.3 percentage points (not significant), to 12.5 percent. This represented 8,200 fewer people (not significant) being underutilised, with a significant decrease of 9,500 unavailable job seekers (these are people who have been actively seeking work, but were not available to start immediately).

Employment growth continues to outpace population growth

In the March 2017 quarter, seasonally adjusted employment rose 1.2 percent, with 29,000 more people employed than in the December 2016 quarter. In that quarter, there was a 0.7 percent increase from the September 2016 quarter.

The working-age population increased 0.7 percent (up 27,000 people) in the latest quarter, to reach 3,782,000. Growth in employment in the quarter exceeded growth in the working-age population for the sixth quarter in a row. The continued employment growth, relative to population growth, resulted in a 0.3 percentage-point increase in the employment rate, to 67.1 percent.

Percentage changeWorking-age population and employmentSeasonally adjusted, quarterlyPersons employedWorking-age PopulationMar-11Mar-12Mar-13Mar-14Mar-15Mar-16Mar-17-10123Source: Stats NZ

The number of people participating in the labour force grew 0.9 percent (23,000 more people), to reach 2,671,000. The labour force comprises all those in the working-age population who were either employed or officially unemployed.

The increase in the labour force was due to more people being employed, as the number of unemployed people fell.

More men in both full-time and part-time employment

Overall, in seasonally adjusted terms, 12,000 more people were in full-time and 16,000 more in part-time employment in the March 2017 quarter.

The seasonally adjusted number of men employed increased 1.5 percent (up 20,000). The number in full-time employment rose 1.0 percent (11,000) and the number in part-time employment rose 6.2 percent (up 10,000).

The seasonally adjusted number of employed women rose 0.7 percent (up 9,000). The number of women in part-time employment increased 1.9 percent (up 7,000), and was up 0.1 percent (1,000) for full-time employment.

Note: The seasonally adjusted employed series for men and women total do not equal the sum of the seasonally adjusted full-time and part-time series because these series are adjusted separately.

Self-employment on the rise

In the March 2017 quarter, the number of self-employed people (without employees) increased significantly – up 8.9 percent (24,700) to reach 302,200.

This increase is one reason why employment growth indicators from the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) are notably higher than those the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) produces. The QES showed a 0.3 percent increase in seasonally filled jobs (as reported by businesses) in the March 2017 quarter, below the 1.2 percent increase in the number of people employed (HLFS).

The two surveys are different conceptually and in scope. Key differences in coverage are that the QES excludes certain industries, self-employment (without employees), and unpaid family workers. It is possible to produce a ‘comparable’ series of the HLFS that excludes these same components. Doing this, seasonally adjusted employment growth is 0.5 percent over the quarter instead, which is much closer to the increase in filled jobs (0.3 percent).

Accommodation and food services, and construction, drive annual increase in jobs

Over the year to the March 2017 quarter, unadjusted filled jobs (as reported by the QES) increased 2.5 percent (up 46,200). These industries made the largest contributions to the increase:

  • accommodation and food services (up 16,200)
  • construction (up 16,100)
  • professional, scientific, technical, admin and support services (up 12,700).

December 2016 quarter

 

Labour force participation continues to grow

In the December 2016 quarter, the seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate rose to 70.5 percent, up by 0.4 percentage points from the September 2016 quarter. The number of people participating in the labour force, at 2,649,000, increased by 1.1 percent (up 29,000 people) in the December 2016 quarter, with both men and women contributing to this.

The labour force comprises all those in the working-age population who were either employed or officially unemployed. Over the quarter, more people were employed and unemployed.

In the same period, the seasonally adjusted number of people not participating in the labour force fell by 12,000 people (down 1.0 percent). The fall came predominately from women, down 11,000 (down 1.6 percent); the number of men not participating fell by 1,000 (down 0.2 percent).

Employment growth remains strong

The seasonally adjusted working-age population was up 0.5 percent (up 17,000 people) in the December 2016 quarter, to reach 3,755,000.

In this quarter, seasonally adjusted employment increased 0.8 percent, with 19,000 more people employed than in the September 2016 quarter. This is the fifth consecutive quarter where growth in employment has exceeded growth in the working-age population. This has resulted in the employment rate rising to 66.9 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the September 2016 quarter.

 

Percentage changeWorking-age population and employmentSeasonally adjusted, quarterlyPersons employedWorking-age populationD-10M-11J-11S-11D-11M-12J-12S-12D-12M-13J-13S-13D-13M-14J-14S-14D-14M-15J-15S-15D-15M-16J-16S-16D-16-10123Source: Stats NZ

Seasonally adjusted employment rose for both men and women over the December 2016 quarter. The number of employed women was up 1.0 percent (up 11,000); for men the increase was 0.6 percent (up 8,000) over the quarter.

The number of seasonally adjusted filled jobs reported by businesses from the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) increased 1.2 percent over the December 2016 quarter, and 3.3 percent over the year – the largest annual increase since the March 2015 quarter, when it was 3.3 percent.

Unemployment rate rises to 5.2 percent

The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed increased by 10,000 in the December 2016 quarter. This means there were more people available to work, and who had either actively sought work or had a new job to start within the next four weeks. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.3 percentage points to 5.2 percent in the December 2016 quarter.

In the year to the December 2016 quarter, the number of unemployed people increased by 15,000; the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent a year ago.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for men increased to 4.8 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and for women, to 5.7 percent (up 0.5 percentage points). Over the quarter 3,000 more men and 7,000 more women were unemployed.

PercentUnemployment rate by sexSeasonally adjustedMaleFemaleTotalD-06M-07J-07S-07D-07M-08J-08S-08D-08M-09J-09S-09D-09M-10J-10S-10D-10M-11J-11S-11D-11M-12J-12S-12D-12M-13J-13S-13D-13M-14J-14S-14D-14M-15J-15S-15D-15M-16J-16S-16D-1634567M-16Male: 4.8Source: Stats NZ

Taranaki had the only significant change in unemployment rate over the year (up to 6.8 percent), up 2.9 percentage points from the December 2015 quarter. Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay and Northland continued to have the highest unemployment rates in the country, at 8.1 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.

Number of people underutilised increases

The following section refers to unadjusted figures.

Underutilisation is a measure of potential labour supply and unmet needs for work. An underutilised person may be unemployed, underemployed, an unavailable jobseeker, or an available potential jobseeker.

In the December 2016 quarter, 25,900 more people were underutilised. Behind the rise were significant increases to the officially unemployed (up 12,300) and unavailable jobseekers (up 10,100 people). Unavailable jobseekers are those who are actively seeking work even though they are not currently available, but would become available within the next four weeks.

The underutilisation rate increased 0.6 percentage points to 12.8 percent in the December 2016 quarter. This change was not statistically significant.

 

September 2016 quarter

Employment growth continues to outpace population growth

The seasonally adjusted working-age population increased 0.7 percent (up 24,000 people) in the September 2016 quarter, to reach 3,739,000.

The largest growth in the population was in the younger age groups, with just over half of the population growth being in the 20 to 34-year age groups.

In the September 2016 quarter, seasonally adjusted employment increased 1.4 percent, with 35,000 more people employed than in the June quarter. The growth in employment in the latest quarter exceeded growth in the working-age population, which resulted in an increase in the employment rate of 0.5 percentage points, up to 66.7 percent.

Diagram, Labour market summary, seasonally adjusted, September 2016 quarter.

Graph, Labour market diagram June 2016

Nelson/Tasman/Marlborough/West Coast had the only significant change in unemployment rate over the year (down to 2.8 percent), falling 2.2 percentage points from the September 2015 quarter. This is the lowest unemployment rate for this region since December 2007, bringing it to a similar level as before the 2008 recession. At 2.8 percent, this also makes it the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

Map, Unemployment rates by regional council area, September 2016 quarter.

The June 2016 quarter estimates suggest employment growth of 2.4 percent (58,000 people), and that the employment rate has reached 66.2 percent. However, some of the changes to the redeveloped HLFS need to be considered when interpreting this quarter’s results. Overall, the new survey appears to be estimating a higher level (or stock) of employment than the previous HLFS.

Labour force participation rate remains high

In the September 2016 quarter, the seasonally adjusted number of people not in the labour force fell 0.7 percent (down 8,000 people). This, coupled with the growth in employment, resulted in the labour force participation rate rising to 70.1 percent, a 0.4 percentage-point increase over the quarter. This reflects 33,000 more people in the labour force, with both more men and women.

Fewer people underutilised

Underutilisation is a measure of potential labour supply and unmet needs for work. An underutilised person may be unemployed, underemployed, an unavailable jobseeker, or an available potential jobseeker.

Over the latest quarter the underutilisation rate fell 0.5 percentage points, to 12.2 percent. This reflects 13,000 fewer people being underutilised.

The decrease in the number of people underutilised was driven by a fall in the number of female ‘available potential jobseekers’, down 8,600. These are people who are available and want to work, but are not actively seeking work.

Underutilisation diagram September 2016 quarter

June 2016 quarter

Unemployment down slightly

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.1 percent in the June 2016 quarter (from a revised 5.2 percent in the March 2016 quarter). There were 1,000 fewer people unemployed over the June quarter, down to 131,000.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were 2,000 fewer women unemployed in the June 2016 quarter. Their unemployment rate decreased 0.3 percentage points to 5.4 percent. The unemployment rate for men decreased 0.1 percentage point, down to 4.7 percent.

(Percent)Unemployment rateQuarterly, June 2007–2016Seasonally adjustedTrendJ-07J-08J-09J-10J-11J-12J-13J-14J-15J-1634567Seasonally adjusted: 5.9Source: Stats NZ

Graph, Labour market diagram June 2016

Employment

The June 2016 quarter estimates suggest employment growth of 2.4 percent (58,000 people), and that the employment rate has reached 66.2 percent. However, some of the changes to the redeveloped HLFS need to be considered when interpreting this quarter’s results. Overall, the new survey appears to be estimating a higher level (or stock) of employment than the previous HLFS.

(000)People employedQuarterly, June 2007–2016Seasonally adjustedTrendActualJ-07J-08J-09J-10J-11J-12J-13J-14J-15J-1621002200230024002500Source: Stats NZ

Although we have backdated some changes to the questionnaire for certain estimates, in particular the unemployment rate, it was not possible to apply the changes in employment measures to historical data. The changes in the questionnaire for employment therefore result in a methodological break in the series between March 2016 and June 2016.

See Improving labour market statistics.

Changes that had an effect on the June 2016 quarter’s employment estimates are:

  • improved questions about undertaking paid work, which are now identifying more self-employed people in the labour market
  • including people employed in the armed forces and residing in private dwellings in the survey population.

Understanding the increase in employment

The change in employment this quarter is influenced by both changes to the survey and by real increases in the number of people employed. The improvements to the employment status questions in the questionnaire were made to correct an issue in the former questionnaire, which probably over-estimated the number of paid-employees and underestimated employers and ‘self-employed without employees’.

See employment status for more detail on these changes.

Graph, Employment status in main job

The graph above shows employment status in main job. It highlights an atypical increase in some of the employment status categories. Employers and the ‘self-employed without employees’ rose 62,500 and 32,000, respectively, from the March to June 2016 quarters. This was partly offset by a drop in the number of paid employees, down 45,400 over the quarter. On an unadjusted basis total employment had a net increase of 45,300 people.

While it is not possible to understand at an individual level how the questionnaire changes have altered the way questions are answered, our testing and monitoring has shown the new questions are performing as expected. There are considerable flows of people from being paid employees to being employers, bringing the HLFS estimates more in line with other data sources. This is a one-off adjustment, which has shifted a number of people to a more-correct employment status. In most instances these classification changes simply move people within the overall ’employed’ category. However, evidence suggests some people have also been identified as self-employed (without employees) who were previously counted in the not in the labour force category.

Evidence for employment growth over the quarter

While the magnitude of the changes due to new questions and any real changes in employment status cannot be quantified, other labour market indicators suggest there was real growth in employment in the June 2016 quarter.

In previous quarters employment growth has been equal to or has exceeded growth in the working-age population, with a few exceptions, for the last three years.

Latest National Population Estimates show the largest-ever population increase was for the year ended June 2016. We would expect this population growth to be reflected in the employment growth this quarter.

(Percent)Working-age population and employmentSeasonally adjusted, quarterlyWorking-age populationEmploymentJ-10J-11J-12J-13J-14J-15J-16-10123Source: Stats NZ

Although the coverage of the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) varies from the HLFS, the QES seasonally adjusted figures show the number of filled jobs increased 3.1 percent over the year to the June 2016 quarter. This compares with a 1.9 percent increase in the year to June 2015.

The following industries made the largest contribution to the increase in filled jobs in the QES for the year to June 2016 (not seasonally adjusted):

  • accommodation and food services (up 14,000 jobs, 11.0 percent)
  • construction (up 10,000 jobs, 6.8 percent)
  • health care and social assistance (up 9,100 jobs, 4.1 percent)
  • professional, scientific, technical, administrative, and support services (up 9,100 jobs, 3.6 percent).

We also have a monthly filled-jobs series based on tax data. This covers all jobs belonging to workers who were paid wages or salaries at any point in the month and uses data from the Employers Monthly Schedule tax form. The latest estimates from this series show a 3.1 percent increase in filled jobs between April 2015 and April 2016.

See Experimental monthly filled-job series for more information.

Looking at the impact of the survey change

Self-employment

The effect of changes to the employment status questions is to reclassify some people previously identified as not in the labour force to self-employed. We expect this is largely due to moving away from the question “did you do any work for pay or profit in a job, business or farm?”. This resulted in an increase in the number of employed and a corresponding decrease in the number of people not in the labour force.

To dig deeper into this change, we look at some changes in employment status between quarters for individuals in the survey. Households remain in the survey for eight consecutive quarters, therefore we can see the employment status of people who responded in both the March and June 2016 quarters. From this, we saw an increase in the proportion of people who were not in the labour force in the March quarter who were now identified as self-employed.

New information on job tenure suggests these people have been self-employed for some time, which confirms the issues in the previous questionnaire. This strongly indicates the questionnaire change has improved the identification of self-employed people.

(Percent)Likelihood a person joins the labour force as self-employedNILF to self-employedJ-14S-14D-14M-15J-15S-15D-15M-16J-160123Source: Stats NZ
Defence force included

A change in the population of the HLFS is contributing to the increase in employment. We have added in members of the armed forces living in private dwellings who were previously excluded. This has added 7,000 to 10,000 people to the total number of people employed.

See Datainfo+ for more information on this improvement.

The effect on estimates following the change in the population is noticeable when looking at employment estimates broken down by industry and region. The public safety and administration industry, which includes the defence force, had a significant increase in people employed in the June 2016 quarter, as did the Manawatu-Wanganui region, where some survey collection took place near and around the Linton army camp. This means the movements for this industry and region should be treated with caution this quarter.

Seasonal adjustment

The changes made to the survey have the potential to affect the seasonal pattern observed in the employment estimates. We considered several options for how to account for any discontinuities arising from survey changes.

We decided not to intervene in the seasonal adjustment process this quarter, due to needing more than one quarter’s data to be available to estimate the new seasonal pattern.

See Datainfo+ for more information.

Managing the impact of the change

Following consultation with our customers we have introduced all the survey changes associated with our development plan this quarter rather than phasing them in over several quarters. This means that future quarterly movements will not be affected by survey changes and should be able to be used with confidence. We will continue to monitor the estimates for any indication of residual effects from the redevelopment.

Underutilisation

This quarter we introduced a new labour market measure – a measure of the underutilisation of labour in New Zealand. This measure is useful to indicate the potential labour supply. This measure includes: people who are unemployed by the official definition, people who are employed but want to work more hours (underemployed), and those who want a job but are not currently actively looking or available to start work. A total of 342,000 people were underutilised in the June 2016 quarter, which equates to an underutilisation rate of 12.7 percent.

See Underutilisation in the labour market June 2016 quarter results for more information.

Unemployment down in North Island

The Auckland, Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay, and Taranaki regions had statistically significant decreases in the unadjusted unemployment rate over the year to June 2016. The Auckland region had a decrease of 1.2 percentage points, bringing the unemployment rate down to 4.7 percent, the lowest since September 2008.

Graph, Unemployment rates by regional council area

New Zealand’s OECD rankings

With the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 5.1 percent, New Zealand is 11th equal in the OECD rankings (no change from the March 2016 quarter). This ranks New Zealand below the United States and the United Kingdom (both with unemployment rates of 4.9 percent) but above Australia (5.8 percent).

Not in employment, education, or training (NEET)

The seasonally adjusted NEET (not in employment, education, or training) rate decreased 1.7 percentage points, to 10.7 percent in the June 2016 quarter. This was the lowest NEET rate since September 2008.

Graph, Seasonally adjusted NEET aged 15–24 years

Changes in the number of youth NEET in the latest quarter should be interpreted with caution, due to the redeveloped HLFS. The changes outlined above – better identification of self-employed people and including defence force personnel – are relevant for NEET because this could result in more youth being counted as employed. This is more likely to be the case for youth aged 20–24, not those aged 15–19 years old. Compared with the June 2015 quarter, the only statistically significant change was an increase in the number of males aged 20–24 years who were employed and not in education.

In addition to this, the new HLFS questions have been improved to better identify education and caregiving status. It is not possible to yet determine whether this has had a material effect on the NEET estimates.

The following sections were published on Wednesday 3 August.

Wage growth remains subdued

All the following movements are for the year to the June 2016 quarter.

The labour cost index (LCI) (including overtime) increased 1.5 percent. This measure of wage inflation reflects changes in the rates that employers pay to have the same job done to the same standard. Annual LCI increases have been 1.5 percent to 1.8 percent since the March 2013 quarter.

Private sector annual wage growth, as measured in the LCI, increased 1.6 percent. Public sector annual wage growth increased 1.3 percent. The latest annual growth in the public sector came from increases in central government (up 1.3 percent) and local government (up 1.7 percent).

The unadjusted LCI increased 2.8 percent. This measure allows for quality changes within occupations as well as wage inflation.

Average ordinary-time hourly earnings, from the QES, increased 2.1 percent in the year ended June 2016 – to reach $29.62. This measures the average hourly wage bill across all jobs in surveyed industries.

 

PercentAnnual percentage change in salary and ordinary time wage ratesJune 2011 quarter to June 2016 quarterQESLCI analytical unadjustedLCIJ11S11D11M12J12S12D12M13J13S13D13M14J14S14D14M15J15S15D15M16J1601234Source: Stats NZ

In the year to the June 2016 quarter, prices of goods and services bought by households, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), increased 0.4 percent. The LCI (including overtime) increased 1.5 percent over the same period. The gap between CPI and LCI inflation (1.1 percentage points) is the smallest since December 2014 (1.0 percentage points).

PercentAnnual percentage change in CPI and LCIJune 2011 quarter to June 2016 quarterCPI with GST at 12.5 percentLCICPI with GST at 15 percentJ11S11D11M12J12S12D12M13J13S13D13M14J14S14D14M15J15S15D15M16J160246Source: Stats NZ

Minimum wage change affects wages

The adult minimum wage increased from $14.75 an hour to $15.25 an hour (3.4 percent increase) on 1 April 2016. For the June 2016 quarter, 14 percent of all surveyed salary and ordinary time wage rates increased – 2 percent of rates increased due to the minimum wage increase. The impact of this change is most noticeable in the retail trade and accommodation industry group, and for jobs requiring little or no training and experience.

See Datainfo+ for more information on the impact of the minimum wage change.

Growth in weekly earnings down on previous quarters

The ordinary time average weekly earnings per full-time equivalent employee (FTE), as measured in the QES, increased 2.0 percent over the year to June 2016 – to reach $1,119.02. This increase was due to the increase in wages, as opposed to the increase in hours, as the average weekly ordinary paid hours decreased 0.1 percent. Ordinary time average weekly earnings per FTE had increased 3.2 percent over the previous year to June 2015.

Over the year to June 2016, ordinary time average weekly earnings per FTE in the private sector increased 2.3 percent. The public sector had a slower wage growth of 1.7 percent.

The construction industry, and the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, made the largest contributions to the increase in average total weekly earnings per FTE. Wholesale trade and retail trade were the next-largest contributors.

Wage growth in construction industry eases

In the year to the June 2016 quarter, salary and wage rate growth (including overtime) in the Canterbury construction industry continued to ease. The 1.0 percent growth was the lowest annual increase since the series began in 2010.

Compared with the June 2009 quarter, construction wages in Canterbury, influenced by the rebuild following the earthquakes, have increased more than in the rest of New Zealand. However, since the March 2015 quarter, annual wage growth has been stronger in the rest of New Zealand than in Canterbury.

For the rest of New Zealand, wage rate growth in the construction industry fell slightly for the year, to 2.1 percent.

The annual mean increases of the wage rates that rose for the June 2016 quarter were:

  • 3.3 percent for the Canterbury region
  • 4.0 percent for the rest of New Zealand.

In the June 2016 quarter, the annual mean increases in Canterbury construction wage rates were lower than the mean increases for the rest of New Zealand for the third quarter in a row.

March 2016 quarter

Unemployment down slightly to 5.1%

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 5.1 percent in the June 2016 quarter (from a revised 5.2 percent in the March 2016 quarter). There were 1,000 fewer people unemployed over the June quarter, down to 131,000.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were 2,000 fewer women unemployed in the June 2016 quarter. Their unemployment rate decreased 0.3 percentage points to 5.4 percent. The unemployment rate for men decreased 0.1 percentage point, down to 4.7 percent.

The rise in seasonally adjusted employment over the September quarter differed for men and women. The number of employed men was up 1.9 percent (up 25,000); for women the increase was 0.9 percent (up 10,000) over the quarter.

Employment growth was strongest for the 25 to 29-year (up 7,200) and 45 to 49-year (up 6,000) age groups.

Labour market at a glance

  • New Zealand’s labour force grows 1.5 percent, the largest quarterly growth since December 2004.
  • Employment growth exceeds population growth over the quarter.
  • The unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent, from a revised rate of 5.4 percent last quarter.
  • Wage inflation remains subdued.

New Zealand’s labour force grows 1.5 percent

The labour force increased 1.5 percent in the March 2016 quarter, with 38,000 more people in the labour force. This was the largest quarterly growth since December 2004.

The labour force participation rate increased 0.5 percentage points in the March 2016 quarter, up to 69.0 percent. This was the first increase since labour force participation reached a record high of 69.5 percent in December 2014.

Diagram, Labour market summary, March 2016 quarter.

Quarterly change in labour force by ageDecember 2015 to March 2016Seasonally adjusted(000)15-1920-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-6465 and overAge-4-20246810Source: Statistics New Zealand

Employment growth exceeds population growth

The working-age population increased 0.8 percent (29,000 people) in the March 2016 quarter, bringing this population up to 3,685,000. This was the largest quarterly growth since the series began in 1986. The largest growth was seen in the younger age groups (20 to 34 years old).

Permanent and long-term migration figures showed a record net gain over the quarter. The net gain in migration figures was a result of more people arriving than departing. New Zealand citizens returning to live in New Zealand accounted for 20 percent of working-age migrant arrivals.

In the March 2016 quarter, the number of people employed increased 1.2 percent (28,000 people). The growth in employment this quarter exceeded the growth in the working-age population, which resulted in an increase in the employment rate of 0.2 percentage points, up to 65.1 percent.

Labour Market Statistics: December 2015 quarter

Labour market at a glance

  • Unemployment rate falls to 5.3 percent.
  • Labour force participation rate falls for third consecutive quarter.
  • Employment growth rises to 0.9 percent for the quarter.
  • Annual wage inflation lowest since March 2010.

Unemployment rate falls to 5.3 percent

The unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points, to 5.3 percent, in the December 2015 quarter. This is the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009 (when it was 5.2 percent). This fall reflected 16,000 fewer people being unemployed over the quarter.

Compared with the December 2014 quarter, there were 10,000 fewer unemployed people – the unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points (from 5.8 percent).

The trend series shows the unemployment rate decreased from 5.8 percent to 5.5 percent in the December 2015 quarter. The trend series removes both the seasonal and irregular component of the series and reveals the underlying direction of movement.

Unemployment rateQuarterlyHover to see exact values. Click legend to filter categoriesPercentSeasonally adjustedTrendD-05D-06D-07D-08D-09D-10D-11D-12D-13D-14D-15345678Source: Statistics New Zealand

The likelihood that an unemployed person would enter into employment, from one quarter to the next, increased in the December 2015 quarter compared with the same time in 2014.

Likelihhod

Falling participation contributes to lower unemployment

The labour force participation rate fell 0.3 percentage points over the latest quarter (to 68.4 percent), and 1.0 percentage point over the 2015 year – down from a record high in the March 2015 quarter. This is the third quarter in a row in which labour force participation has fallen.

The drop in labour force participation (coupled with a rise in employment) has contributed to the fall in unemployment over the December 2015 quarter.

Labour market summary

The drop in labour force participation was a result of the labour force growing at a slower rate than the working-age population. This gives rise to an increasing number of people not participating in the labour force; 14,000 more in the December 2015 quarter, and 61,000 over the year. This annual increase was partly from there being more people who were retired (up 31,500), and more people at home but not looking after children (up 15,400).

Unemployment rate improves for both men and women

The unemployment rate fall came from both fewer men (down 7,000) and women (down 9,000) being unemployed over the December 2015 quarter. This resulted in the unemployment rate for men falling 0.5 percentage points (to 5.0 percent) and that for women falling 0.8 percentage points (to 5.7 percent).

 September 2015 quarter

Number of employed people falls for first time in three years

For the September 2015 quarter employment fell (down 0.4 percent), with 11,000 fewer people employed than in the previous quarter. This is the first quarter employment has fallen in three years (employment fell 0.5 percent in the September 2012 quarter).

In the September 2015 quarter the working-age population increased by 22,000 people (0.6 percent). This is the second consecutive quarter that employment growth has not kept up with growth in the working-age population.

Unemployment rate rises to 6.0 percent

The unemployment rate rose to 6.0 percent in the September 2015 quarter – up from 5.9 percent for the June 2015 quarter. There were 3,000 more unemployed people in the quarter, bringing the number of unemployed to 151,000 – the highest number since the June 2013 quarter.

Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast had the only statistically significant change in regional unemployment rates, with an increase to 5.7 percent, (up 2.1 percentage points).

Map, Unemployment rates by regional council area, September 2015 quarter.

March 2015 quarter

Labour market diagram

Employment growth still strong

In the March 2015 quarter the number of people employed increased by 16,000 (0.7 percent); the working-age population was up 0.6 percent, resulting in the employment rate of 65.5 percent – unchanged from the previous quarter. Over the year, the number of people employed increased by 74,000 (3.2 percent).

The number of filled jobs reported by businesses (from the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES)) increased 3.3 percent in the year to the March 2015 quarter.

Unemployment rate remains flat at 5.8 percent

The unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent in the March 2015 quarter – unchanged from a revised rate of 5.8 percent for the December 2014 quarter. While the unemployment rate was unchanged, there were 3,000 more unemployed people over the quarter.

Over the year to the March 2015 quarter, the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points (from 6.0 percent).

See revisions for more information on the revision to the seasonally adjusted estimates.

Unemployment rateQuarterly Hover to see exact values. Click legend to filter categories.PercentSeasonally adjustedTrendM-05M-06M-07M-08M-09M-10M-11M-12M-13M-14M-15345678Source: Statistics New Zealand

Labour force participation at all-time high

In the March 2015 quarter 19,000 more people entered the labour force. Consequently, the labour force participation rate rose 0.2 percentage points, to 69.6 percent. This is the highest participation rate since the series began in 1986. While the overall labour force has grown, the employment and unemployment rates were unchanged from the December 2014 quarter.

Over the year to the March 2015 quarter, 73,000 more people joined the labour force. The 20–34-year age groups contributed nearly half this annual growth. The rise in the labour force was consistent with high growth in the working-age population. The working-age population increased 2.1 percent over the year – the largest annual percentage increase since the year to the March 2004 quarter. High net migration for the 20–34-year age groups contributed to the growing working-age population.

See Migration for more detail information on migration.

The growth in the number of people in the labour force over the quarter came predominantly from a large increase in the number of men joining. In the March 2015 quarter, there were 17,000 more men in the labour force and 2,000 more women.

September 2014 Quarter

Key facts

In the September 2014 quarter compared with the June 2014 quarter:

  • The number of people employed increased by 18,000.
  • The employment rate increased 0.2 percentage points, to 65.2 percent. This came as employment growth outpaced population growth.
  • The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 5.4 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed decreased by 4,000.
  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.1 percentage points, to 69.0 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted

September 2014 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
(000) (Percent)
Employed 2,346 +0.8 +3.2
Unemployed    134  -2.8 -9.6
Not in the labour force 1,116  +0.1  +0.6
Working-age population 3,595 +0.4 +1.8
(Percent) (Percentage points)
Employment rate  65.2 +0.2  +0.8
Unemployment rate    5.4 -0.2   -0.7
Labour force participation rate  69.0 +0.1  +0.4

June 2014 quarter

Overview

In the June 2014 quarter, the number of people employed
increased by 10,000, while the employment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points, in seasonally adjusted terms. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent as the number of people unemployed fell by 9,000. The labour force grew by 1,000 people while the working-age population increased by 20,000 people. The labour force participation rate decreased to 68.9 percent.

Employment growth strong over the year

In the year to June 2014, the number of people employed grew 3.7 percent to reach 2,328,000 people, in seasonally adjusted terms. This annual employment growth is equal to last quarter, which was the highest increase since December 2004. The employment rate rose to 65.0 percent over the year – up from 63.7 percent a year ago.

The employment rate is affected by both employment growth and working-age

  • The number of people employed increased by 10,000 people.
  • The employment rate fell 0.1 percentage points, to 65.0 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed decreased by 9,000 people.
  • The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.6 percent.
  • The labour force participation rate decreased 0.3 percentage points, to 68.9 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

June 2014 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Employed
2,328
+0.4
+3.7
Unemployed
137
-6.3
-10.9
Not in the labour force
1,114
+1.7
-0.9
Working age population
3,579
+0.6
+1.6
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Employment rate
65.0
-0.1
+1.3
Unemployment rate
5.6
-0.3
-0.8
Labour force participation rate
68.9
-0.3
+0.8

Full-time and part-time employment increasing

More people were in full-time and part-time employment in the June 2014 quarter than the same time last year. Full-time employment increased 4.0 percent over the year and 0.9 percent over the quarter. Annually, 2.6 percent more people were in part-time work, while part-time employment decreased by 0.4 percent over the quarter.

Before this decrease, part-time employment had increased for four consecutive quarters. Full-time employment has now risen for the seventh quarter in a row.

People who are underemployed are those who work part-time, would prefer to work more hours, and are available to do so. In unadjusted terms, the number of underemployed grew by 12 percent over the year. While the number of part-time workers increased over the year, the ratio of people underemployed to employed part-time also rose – from 17.1 percent in June 2013 to 18.7 percent this quarter.

Actual and usual hours worked are ticking up

The number of actual and usual hours people worked per week grew substantially over the year. The total number of actual hours increased by 4.8 percent, and the number of usual hours worked increased by 5.0 percent – the highest annual percentage increases since June 2004 and June 1995, respectively. As the annual growth in actual hours outpaced employment growth, average hours worked are up.

Both actual and usual hours were also up over the quarter, increasing 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Construction leads employment growth

The following figures are not seasonally adjusted, and are based on annual changes that were statistically significant unless otherwise stated.

The main contributors to the annual growth in employment were the construction industry (up 29,600 people – 17 percent) and the wholesale trade industry (up 16,800 people – 20 percent). A significant increase was also seen in the electricity, gas, water, and waste services industry.

Employment in the public administration and safety industry grew by 11,000 people (9.1 percent), although this movement was not statistically significant.

March 2014 quarter

In the March 2014 quarter compared with the December 2013 quarter:

  • The number of people employed increased by 22,000 people.
  • The employment rate rose 0.4 percentage points, to 65.1 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed was unchanged.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.0 percent.
  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.4 percentage points, to 69.3 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

March 2014 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Employed
2,318
+0.9
+3.7
Unemployed
147
0.0
-1.1
Not in the labour force
1,093
-0.9
-2.9
Working age population
3,559
+0.3
+1.4
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Employment rate
65.1
+0.4
+1.4
Unemployment rate
6.0
0.0
-0.2
Labour force participation rate
69.3
+0.4
+1.4

Overview

In the March 2014 quarter, the employment rate increased 0.4 percentage points in seasonally adjusted terms. The number of people employed increased by 22,000. The unemployment rate remained flat over the quarter at 6.0 percent. The labour force grew by 22,000 people, following the rise in employment and no change in unemployment. The labour force participation rate increased 0.4 percentage points over the quarter, to a record high of 69.3 percent.

Employment continues to rise

In the March 2014 quarter, the employment rate increased to 65.1 percent – up 0.4 percentage points, in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a 0.3 percentage point increase in the December 2013 quarter and is up 1.4 percentage points from a year ago. This is the highest employment rate since the December 2008 quarter, before the employment rate began an extended decline during the 2008-09 economic downturn.

The number of people employed increased by 22,000 (0.9 percent) in seasonally adjusted terms. Over the year to March 2014, the number of people employed rose 84,000 (3.7 percent) to 2,318,000 people. This is the largest annual increase since December 2004 when the increase was 90,000.

The quarterly increase reflects a rise in both the number of men and women employed and it is the highest employment rate for both men (71.0 percent) and women (59.6 percent) since the December 2008 quarter where the employment rates for men and women were 72.4 percent and 60.1 percent, respectively.

December 2013 quarter

Overview

In the December 2013 quarter, the employment rate
increased 0.3 percentage points to 64.7 percent, in seasonally adjusted terms. The number of people employed increased by 24,000. The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter, down 0.2 percentage points to 6.0 percent. This decrease reflected 2,000 fewer people being unemployed. The fall in unemployment was from fewer men unemployed. The labour force grew by 22,000 people, with the rise in employment greater than the fall in unemployment. The labour force participation rate increased over the quarter, up 0.3 percentage points to 68.9 percent.

Employment increases for both men and women
In the December 2013 quarter, the employment rate increased to 64.7 percent – up 0.3 percentage points, in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows a 0.7 percentage point increase in the September 2013 quarter and is up 1.1 percentage points from a year ago. This is the highest employment rate since the March 2009 quarter, a period when the employment rate experienced a sharp decline during the 2008-09 economic downturn. Over the latest quarter, the male employment rate increased 0.5 percentage points to 70.7 percent. The female employment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 59.1 percent, its highest rate since the December 2008 quarter. In the December 2013 quarter, the number of people employed increased by 24,000 (1.1 percent), in seasonally adjusted terms. This change reflected a rise in both the number of men and women employed. The latest rise follows a 28,000 (1.2 percent) increase in the September 2013 quarter. Over the year to December 2013, the number of people employed rose by 66,000 (3.0 percent) to 2,297,000 people. This is the largest annual percentage rise since the June 2006 quarter.

Employment growth seen across a broad range of industries
The following figures are not seasonally adjusted, and are based on annual changes that are statistically significant unless otherwise stated. The main contributor to the annual growth in employment was a rise in the professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support service industry group (up 26,400 people – 10.9 percent). This rise was from 22,400 more males employed in this industry group. There were also increases in the retail trade, and accommodation and food services industry group (up 20,700 people – 6.0 percent), the construction industry (up 14,800 people – 8.6 percent), the manufacturing industry (up 14,300 – 6.0 percent) and the health care and social assistance industry group (up 16,600 – 7.1 percent). However, these movements were not statistically significant. For more on industry outcomes for men and women, please see How men and women have fared in the labour market since the 2008 recession.

More people in full-time and part-time employment
Both full-time and part-time employment increased in the December 2013 quarter. Full-time employment rose for the fifth consecutive quarter – up 17,000 (1.0 percent), while part-time employment rose 9,000 (1.9 percent). Over the year, both full-time (up 58,000 – 3.4 percent) and part-time employment increased (up 14,000 – 2.8 percent). In unadjusted terms, industries with large rises in full-time employment over the year were the retail trade, accommodation and food services industry group; the construction industry; and the professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support service industry group. Of these changes, the rise in retail trade, accommodation and food services employment was the only statistically significant movement. In part-time employment, there was a large rise in the professional, scientific, technical, administration, and support service industry group.

Underemployment rises
The following figures are not seasonally adjusted, and are based on annual changes that are statistically significant unless otherwise stated. Over the year, the total number of underemployed people increased by 27,200 to 122,600. As a result, the underemployment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 5.3 percent. Although part-time employment rose, the proportion of part-time workers who are underemployed also increased. This indicates that even though there are more part-time workers employed, a greater proportion of those who were available to, want to work more hours.

Actual hours worked falls over the quarter but rises over the year
Over the latest quarter, the total number of hours people actually worked per week fell 0.3 percent and the number of usual hours worked rose 0.9 percent. The fall in actual hours worked follows a large 1.4 percent quarterly rise in the September 2013 quarter. Over the year, the seasonally adjusted number of actual hours worked per week rose by 1.3 percent and the number of usual hours rose by 3.9 percent.

Unemployment continues to fall
In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate fell to 6.0 percent in the December 2013 quarter, down 0.2 percentage points. The last time the unemployment rate was this low was in the June 2009 quarter, when it was also 6.0 percent. Over the year, the unemployment rate fell 0.8 percentage points from 6.8 percent. The unemployment rate trend series rose strongly after the economic downturn, but has remained relatively flat between the September 2009 and September 2012 quarters – it has since fallen for five consecutive quarters. The seasonally adjusted male unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 5.2 percent over the quarter. The female unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 6.9 percent. While the female unemployment rate edged up over the quarter, it is still down 0.5 percentage points from a year ago. The number of unemployed people fell by 2,000 to 147,000 in the December 2013 quarter. This fall was entirely from a drop in male unemployment – down 6,000. Over the year, the number of people unemployed decreased by 14,000 (8.9 percent).

September 2013 quarter

Employment rises as labour market continues to improve.

Key facts

In the September 2013 quarter compared with the June 2013 quarter:

  • The number of people employed increased by 27,000 people.
  • The employment rate rose 0.7 percentage points, to 64.4 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed decreased by 4,000 people.
  • The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points, to 6.2 percent.
  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.5 percentage points, to 68.6 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

Employment increases for both men and women

In the September 2013 quarter, the employment rate increased to 64.4 percent – up 0.7 percentage points, in seasonally adjusted terms. After remaining at 63.7 percent for the last two quarters, the employment rate has increased by 0.9 percentage points from a year ago. This is the highest level since the June 2009 quarter, when the labour market showed the full effect of the recession.

Over the quarter, the male employment rate increased 0.7 percentage points to 70.2 percent. The female employment rate increased 0.6 percentage points to 58.8 percent, the highest rate since the March 2009 quarter.

In the September 2013 quarter, the number of people employed increased by 27,000 (1.2 percent) in seasonally adjusted terms. This change reflected a rise in both the number of men and women employed.

In the September 2013 quarter, the number of people employed increased by 27,000 (1.2 percent) in seasonally adjusted terms. This change reflected a rise in both the number of men and women employed.

September 2013 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Employed
2,272
+1.2
+2.4
Unemployed
150
-2.6
-13.1
Not in the labour force
1,109
-1.5
+0.5
Working age population
3,531
+0.2
+1.1
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Employment rate
64.4
+0.7
+0.9
Unemployment rate
6.2
-0.2
-1.0
Labour force participation rate
68.6
+0.5
+0.2

Overview

In the September 2013 quarter, the employment rate increased 0.7 percentage points in seasonally adjusted terms. The number of people employed increased by 27,000.

The unemployment rate decreased over the quarter, down 0.2 percentage points to 6.2 percent. This decrease reflected 4,000 fewer people being unemployed. The fall in unemployment was from fewer women unemployed.

The labour force grew by 23,000 people, with the rise in employment greater than the fall in unemployment. The labour force participation rate increased 0.5 percentage points in the quarter, to 68.6 percent.

June 2013 quarter

Key Facts

In the June 2013 quarter compared with the March 2013 quarter:

  • The employment rate fell to 63.6 percent – down 0.1 percentage points.
  • The number of people employed increased by 8,000.
  • The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points, to 6.4 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed increased by 5,000.
  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.1 percentage points, to 68.0 percent.
  • The number of people not in the labour force remained unchanged.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

June 2013 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Employed
2,234
+0.4
+0.7
Unemployed
153
+3.7
-5.1
Not in the labour force
1,127
0.0
+2.2
Working age population
3,523
+0.4
+0.9
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Employment rate
63.6
-0.1
-0.2
Unemployment rate
6.4
+0.2
-0.4
Labour force participation rate
68.0
+0.1
-0.4

Overview

In the June 2013 quarter, the number of people employed increased by 8,000 (0.4 percent) in seasonally adjusted terms. This is the second quarterly increase in a row, after a fall in 2012.

The unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 6.4 percent over the quarter. This reflected 5,000 more people unemployed. Over the year, the unemployment rate fell from 6.8 percent in the June 2012 quarter.

Over the quarter, the labour force participation rate rose from 67.9 percent to 68.0 percent, while the number of people not in the labour force
remained unchanged. Over the year, the number of people outside the labour force continued to rise, reflecting an increase in both the number of youth in study and the number of people in retirement.

March 2013 quarter

Labour force improves this quarter to 6.2% unemployment- Due to the improving labour market Automotive Employment NZ, this month, provides an extended overview from Statistics NZ.

Overview

In the March 2013 quarter, the employment rate increased 1.0 percentage points to 63.7 percent in seasonally adjusted terms. This follows three quarters of consecutive declines and leaves the employment rate down 0.3 percentage points over the year. This is mirrored in the trend series, which also increased after weakness throughout 2012.

The number of people employed increased by 38,000 in the quarter, with more people employed in full-time work. The unemployment rate fell in the quarter, down 0.6 percentage points to 6.2 percent, from 6.8 percent (revised) the previous quarter. This decrease reflects 15,000 fewer people unemployed, with fewer men and women unemployed this quarter.

The labour force grew by 24,000 people, with the rise in employment greater than the fall in unemployment. The labour force participation rate increased 0.6 percentage points in the quarter, to 67.8 percent.

The number of people not in the labour force decreased in the quarter – down 19,000 people. The fall came from a decrease in the number of women not in the labour force.

March 2013 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Employed
2,234
+1.7
+0.3
Unemployed
146
-9.1
-9.1
Not in the labour force
1,128
-1.7
+3.5
Working age population
3,508
+0.1
+0.9
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Employment rate
63.7
+1.0
-0.3
Unemployment rate
6.2
-0.6
-0.5
Labour force participation rate
67.8
+0.6
-0.8

Key facts

In the March 2013 quarter compared with the December 2012 quarter:

  • The employment rate increased to 63.7 percent, up 1.0 percentage points.
  • The number of people employed increased by 38,000 (up 1.7 percent).
  • The unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points, to 6.2 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed decreased by 15,000 people (down 9.1 percent).
  • The labour force participation rate increased 0.6 percentage points, to 67.8 percent.
  • The number of people not in the labour force decreased by 19,000.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

December 2012 quarter

Unemployment falls for the quarter

In the December 2012 quarter the unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent, in seasonally adjusted terms. This is a 0.4 percentage-point fall from the previous quarter. However, over the year unemployment was up 0.5 percentage points.

The number of unemployed people fell 10,000 (down 6.0 percent) for the quarter, to 163,000. The number of unemployed men fell 11,000 (down 12.2 percent), to 79,000. The number of unemployed women remained steady, at 84,000.

The male unemployment rate fell for the latest quarter while the female unemployment rate rose. The unemployment rate for men decreased 0.8 percentage points, to 6.3 percent, back to the levels seen in the period from the December 2010 to the June 2012 quarters. The female unemployment rate continued to rise, up 0.2 percentage points to 7.6 percent. This is the fourth consecutive increase in the female unemployment rate.

Key facts

In the December 2012 quarter compared with the September 2012 quarter:

  • The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points, to 6.9 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed decreased by 10,000 people (down 6.0 percent).
  • The employment rate fell 0.8 percentage points, to 62.6 percent.
  • The number of people employed decreased by 23,000 (down 1.0 percent).
  • The labour force participation rate fell 1.2 percentage points, to 67.2 percent.
  • The number of people in the labour force decreased by 33,000.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

December 2012 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Unemployed
163
-6.0
+6.8
Employed
2,194
-1.0
-1.4
Not in the labour force
1,149
+3.8
+4.4
Working-age population
3,506
+0.3
+0.8
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Unemployment rate
6.9
-0.5
+0.5
Employment rate
62.6
-0.8
-1.4
Labour force participation rate
67.2
-1.2
-1.2

September 2012 quarter

Key facts

In the September 2012 quarter compared with the June 2012 quarter:

  • The unemployment rate rose 0.5 percentage points, to 7.3 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed increased by 13,000 people.
  • The employment rate fell 0.4 percentage points, to 63.4 percent.
  • The number of people employed decreased by 8,000.
  • The labour force participation rate remained unchanged, at 68.4 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

Unemployment increases for both men and women

Over the September 2012 quarter the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent, in seasonally adjusted terms. This is a 0.5 percentage-point rise from the previous quarter. The last time the unemployment rate was higher was in the March 1999 quarter, when it was 7.5 percent.

The male unemployment rate increased more than the female unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for men increased 0.8 percentage points to 7.2 percent. The male rate had been steady since the December 2010 quarter, sitting within a tight band of 6.2 percent to 6.5 percent. The female unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 7.4 percent.

The number of unemployed people increased 13,000 (up 7.9 percent), rising to a total of 175,000. Most of this increase came from the number of unemployed men, which rose 10,000 (up 12.2 percent) to 91,000. The number of unemployed women rose 3,000 (up 3.6 percent) to 84,000.

September 2012 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Unemployed
175
+7.9
+12.4
Employed
2,218
-0.4
0.0
Not in the labour force
1,103
+0.1
+0.7
Working-age population
3,497
+0.1
+0.8
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Unemployment rate
7.3
+0.5
+0.7
Employment rate
63.4
-0.4
-0.5
Labour force participation rate
68.4
0.0
0.0

June 2012 quarter

The unemployment rate rose slightly, up to 6.8 percent in the June 2012 quarter from 6.7 percent in the March quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Employment growth slowed in the year to June 2012, with 2,000 fewer people in work in the June quarter,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

There were 5,000 fewer men in employment in the June 2012 quarter, while 3,000 more women were employed. The overall fall in employment, combined with a growing working-age population, resulted in a decrease in the employment rate of 0.3 percentage points, falling to 63.8 percent.

Unemployment rose slightly, up 2,000 for the quarter. The rise was split evenly between men and women.

While the labour force (employed and unemployed) remained flat, the number of people not in the labour force rose for the June quarter. Behind the rise was an increase in the number of men not in the labour force, while the number of women not in the labour force remained unchanged.

The Household Labour Force Survey results are based on a representative sample of 15,000 households throughout New Zealand. The survey is designed to produce reliable estimates of the numbers of people employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force.

Key facts

In the June 2012 quarter compared with the March 2012 quarter:

  • The employment rate fell 0.3 percentage points, to 63.8 percent.
  • The number of people employed decreased by 2,000 people.
  • The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point, to 6.8 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed increased by 2,000.
  • The labour force participation rate fell from 68.7 percent to 68.4 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

June 2012 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percent)
Unemployed
162
+1.1
+4.3
Employed
2,227
-0.1
+0.6
Not in the labour force
1,103
+1.4
+0.7
Working-age population
3,492
+0.4
+0.8
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Unemployment rate
6.8
+0.1
+0.3
Employment rate
63.8
-0.3
-0.1
Labour force participation rate
68.4
-0.3
0.0

March 2012 quarter

Key facts

In the March 2012 quarter compared with the December 2011 quarter:

  • The employment rate rose 0.3 percentage points, to 64.2 percent.
  • The number of people employed increased by 9,000.
  • The unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points, to 6.7 percent.
  • The number of people unemployed increased by 9,000.
  • The labour force participation rate rose to its second-highest rate ever, 68.8 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

Labour force expands as both employment and unemployment rise

The labour force increased by 18,000 people in the March 2012 quarter. This increase was reflected in an increase in both employment and unemployment.

The number of people employed rose by 9,000. This saw the employment rate rise 0.3 percentage points, to 64.2 percent. This rise highlights that the growth in employment was larger than the growth in the working-age population. Behind the employment growth was an increase in part-time employment, while full-time employment fell. Total part-time employment increased by 13,000 (2.5 percent) over the quarter, to reach a new peak.

The unemployment rate also increased 0.3 percentage points to 6.7 percent in the March 2012 quarter, with the number of people unemployed increasing by 9,000. This indicates that more people have entered the labour force who are looking for work and are available. Behind the increase in unemployment was an increase in female unemployment.

The increases in employment and unemployment resulted in a 0.6 percentage point rise in the labour force participation rate over the quarter, up to 68.8 percent. This reflects 18,000 more people in the labour force and a corresponding decrease of 19,000 in the number who are not in the labour force. This is the highest labour force participation rate since its peak (69.1 percent) in the December 2008 quarter.

In annual unadjusted terms, the Canterbury region had a noticeable decrease in the number of unemployed, down 3,800 to 18,800. The Auckland region had a significant increase in employment over the year ended March 2012 (30,400 people).

March 2012 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(000)
(Percentage points)
Unemployed
160
+6.1
+3.1
Employed
2,230
+0.4
+0.9
Not in the labour force
1,086
-1.7
+0.1
Working-age population
3,477
0.0
+0.8
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Unemployment rate
6.7
+0.3
+0.1
Employment rate
64.2
+0.3
+0.1
Labour force participation rate
68.8
+0.6
+0.2

December 2011 quarter

Key Facts

In the December 2011 quarter compared with the September 2011 quarter:

  • The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points, to 6.3 percent.
  • 7,000 fewer people were unemployed.
  • 3,000 more people were employed.
  • The employment rate was flat, at 63.9 percent.

All figures are seasonally adjusted.

Seasonally adjusted
December 2011 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
(Percent)
(Percentage points)
Unemployment rate
6.3
-0.3
-0.4
Employment rate
63.9
0.0
+0.4
Labour force participation rate
68.2
-0.2
+0.2
(000)
(Percent)
Unemployed
150
-4.2
-3.7
Employed
2,221
+0.1
+1.6
Not in the labour force
1,107
+1.0
+0.4

September 2011 quarter

Key facts

In the September 2011 quarter compared with the June 2011 quarter:

  • The unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 6.6 percent.
  • Unemployment rose by 3,000 people.
  • The number of people employed increased by 5,000.
  • The employment rate was flat at 63.9 percent.

Employment and unemployment increase

The labour force grew during the September 2011 quarter, through an increase in both the number of people employed and the number of people unemployed. As the number of people unemployed increased at a greater rate than the total labour force, the unemployment rate rose slightly, to 6.6 percent. While labour market outcomes generally improved for men over the quarter, women’s employment decreased and unemployment increased.

The number of people employed increased by 5,000 over the quarter. Full-time employment grew by 8,000, while part-time employment decreased by 3,000. Over the quarter, the number of men employed grew while the number of women employed fell. In annual terms, however, both male and female employment grew, with stronger employment growth for females.

The total number of people unemployed increased by 3,000 over the quarter, with an increase of 4,000 women unemployed and a slight decrease of 1,000 men unemployed. The male unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 6.3 percent and the female unemployment rate increased 0.3 percentage points to 7.0 percent.

In annual unadjusted terms, employment increased significantly in the Auckland region, while there was a significant decrease in employment in the Canterbury region.

All figures have been seasonally adjusted.

Seasonally adjusted
September 2011 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.6%
+0.1%
+0.2%
Unemployed
157,000
+1.7%
+4.6%
Employed
2,218,000
+0.2%
+1.1%
Not in the labour force
1,095,000
-0.2%
+0.5%
Employment rate
63.9%
0.0
0.0
Labour force participation rate
68.4%
+0.1
+0.1

June 2011 quarter

Highlights

In the June 2011 quarter:

  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment was unchanged at 154,000.**
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 6.5 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted employment increased slightly by 1,000 to 2,214,000.
  • Unadjusted movements for key labour market outcomes in the Canterbury region moved in a different direction from the national estimates, when compared with the June 2010 quarter.

The labour market remained relatively steady over the June 2011 quarter. Employment increased by 1,000, while unemployment and the unemployment rate remained unchanged for the quarter. Although there was little change to the total levels of employment and unemployment over the quarter, there were different outcomes for males and females.

Although the quarterly change in employment was small, there was a large annual increase in employment (43,000). This was driven by increases in both full-time and part-time employment (up 26,000 and 17,000, respectively).

The unemployment rate remained at 6.5 percent for the June 2011 quarter. While there was no change in the total unemployment rate, the male and female unemployment rates moved closer together. The male unemployment rate increased to 6.4 percent from 6.2 percent, while the female unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent.

There was a large rise in actual hours worked for the June 2011 quarter, up 1.6 percent. Usual hours worked increased by 0.6 percent.

In annual unadjusted terms, key labour market outcomes for the June 2011 year were different in the Canterbury region compared with movements in the national estimates. Employment fell in Canterbury but rose nationally. Unemployment increased in Canterbury but decreased nationally.

Seasonally adjusted
June 2011 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.5%
0.0
-0.4
Unemployed
154,000
-0.1**
-3.7%
Employed
2,214,000
0.0%
+2.0%
Not in the labour force
1,096,000
+1.4%
+0.3%
Labour force participation rate
68.4%
-0.2
+0.3

**Due to rounding there is no level change but there is a quarterly percentage change.

March 2011 quarter

Labour market overview – seasonally adjusted

During the March 2011 quarter, the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent. This fall was the result of employment rising (by 30,000 people) and unemployment falling (by 2,000 people).

Male unemployment fell during this quarter, with the male unemployment rate down to 6.2 percent. The female unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.0 percent during the March 2011 quarter.

During the March 2011 quarter, both part-time employment and full-time employment rose (up 4.0 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively). Usual hours worked per week rose this quarter by 1.2 percent while actual hours worked fell by 0.9 percent.

The labour force participation rate increased to 68.7 percent in the March 2011 quarter. Male participation rose by 0.6 percentage points while female participation rose by 0.8 percentage points.

The earthquake that struck the Canterbury region on 22 February 2011 caused some disruption to interviewing. Statistics New Zealand suspended interviewing in Christchurch city and in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts. This meant about 800 of the 2,200 Canterbury households in the survey sample were not interviewed.

The usual estimation method was altered for this quarter to account for the loss of households in Canterbury. The altered estimation method will be reviewed next quarter.

National estimates excluding Canterbury have also been produced. This data shows that the number of employed people rose by 34,000 while the number of unemployed fell by 1,000 during the March 2011 quarter.

For the March 2011 quarter:

  • Employment increased by 30,000 to 2,214,000.
  • Unemployment decreased by 2,000 to 155,000.
  • The unemployment rate decreased to 6.6 percent.
Seasonally adjusted
March 2011 quarter
Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.6%
-0.1
+0.5
Unemployed
155,000
-1.4%
+9.4%
Employed
2,214,000
+1.4%
+1.8%
Not in the labour force
1,081,000
-2.2%
-0.7%
Labour force participation rate
68.7%
+0.8
+0.7

December 2010 Quarter

Labour market overview – seasonally adjusted

During the December 2010 quarter, the unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 6.8 percent. This rise was the result of employment decreasing and unemployment increasing.

Male unemployment increased during the quarter, with the male unemployment rate increasing by 0.8 percentage points to 6.5 percent. Conversely, the female unemployment rate fell to 7.0 percent during the December 2010 quarter, down from 7.2 percent in the September 2010 quarter.

During the December 2010 quarter part-time employment decreased (down 2.8 percent), while full-time employment increased (up 0.3 percent). Actual hours worked per week increased by 0.2 percent.

The labour force participation rate decreased to 67.9 percent in the December 2010 quarter. This is the lowest labour force participation rate since the March 2008 quarter. Male participation decreased by 0.6 percentage points and female participation decreased by 0.2 percentage points. During the quarter, the trend unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 percent.

  • The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points to 6.8 percent.
  • Unemployment increased by 8,000 to 158,000.
  • Employment decreased by 11,000 to 2,182,000.
Seasonally adjusted December 2010 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.8%
+0.4
-0.2
Unemployed
158,000
+5.1%
-2.5%
Employed
2,182,000
-0.5%
+1.3%
Not in the labour force
1,107,000
+1.6%
+1.9%
Labour force participation rate
67.9%
-0.4
-0.2

September 2010 Quarter

Labour market overview – seasonally adjusted

During the September 2010 quarter, the unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent. This fall was the result of employment increasing and unemployment decreasing.

The decrease in the unemployment rate this quarter marks a divergence in labour market outcomes for males and females. Female unemployment increased during the quarter, with the female unemployment rate rising to 7.2 percent, up from 6.8 percent. Conversely, the male unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent during the September 2010 quarter, down from 6.9 percent in the June 2010 quarter.

Employment increased by 23,000 during the quarter, with a larger increase for males (1.9 percent) than for females (0.1 percent). Actual hours worked per week increased by 0.8 percent.

The labour force participation rate increased to 68.3 percent in the September 2010 quarter. Male labour force participation increased by 0.4 percentage points, while female participation increased by 0.2 percentage points. Highlights – seasonally adjusted.

  • The unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent
  • Unemployment decreased by 10,000 to 150,000.
  • Employment increased by 23,000 to 2,193,000.
Seasonally adjusted September 2010 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.4%
-0.5
-0.1
Unemployed
150,000
+6.1%
+0.3%
Employed
2,193,000
+1.0%
+1.8%
Not in the labour force
1,089,000
-0.5%
+0.6%
Labour force participation rate
68.3%
+0.2
+0.3

June 2010 Quarter

Labour market overview – seasonally adjusted:

Highlights:

  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 19,000 to 159,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.8 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 6,000 to 2,170,000.

The trend series unemployment rate was unchanged over the quarter, at 6.7 percent, while trend employment increased by 6,000.

Seasonally adjusted June 2010 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.8%
+0.8
+0.9
Unemployed
159,000
-13.9%
+16.2%
Employed
2,170,000
-0.3%
-0.1%
Not in the labour force
1,094,000
+0.6%
+2.7%
Labour force participation rate
68.0%
0
-0.4

In seasonally adjusted terms, New Zealand’s unemployment rate rose from 6.0 percent to 6.8 percent during the June 2010 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. This rise unwinds much of the drop in unemployment seen in the March 2010 quarter, and indicates a period of volatility in the labour market.

Unemployment rose 19,000 during the June 2010 quarter to reach 159,000, marked by an increase in unemployed males. As with the fall in the March quarter’s unemployment, the rise this quarter was largely unexpected, and reflected movements among younger males.

“There have been recent fluctuations in both employment and unemployment, which can occur during periods of major change in the labour market,” manager of labour market statistics Peter Gardiner said. “These movements indicate that the labour market is still adjusting to the changing economic climate.”

The recent volatility in unemployment estimates is making it more difficult to interpret the results. The underlying or trend unemployment rate, which excludes seasonal and unexpected changes can be used to help understand labour market conditions. At 6.7 percent, the trend unemployment rate has been relatively flat since September 2009.

In the last year, growth in the working-age population has out-stripped employment growth. This, coupled with relatively high and stable labour force participation during the year has kept unemployment up.

Employment decreased by 6,000 during the June 2010 quarter, following a 21,000 increase last quarter. Part-time work fell, while full-time employment rose. Consistent with the rise in full-time work, both usual and actual hours worked increased during the quarter, indicating that those in work are working more hours.

The Household Labour Force Survey results are based on a representative sample of 15,000 households throughout New Zealand. The survey is designed to produce estimates of the numbers of people employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force.

March 2010 Quarter

Labour market overview – seasonally adjusted:

In the March 2010 quarter, unemployment dropped by 25,000 (15.1 percent), down to 140,000. In the same period, the unemployment rate fell by 1.1 percentage points to 6.0 percent. This is the first fall in both the number of people unemployed and the unemployment rate since the December 2007 quarter, and the largest fall in the unemployment rate recorded since the survey began in March 1986.

The number of people unemployed fell by 25,000 during the quarter, while the number of people employed grew by 22,000. This compositional change in the labour force resulted in a sharp fall in the unemployment rate. Labour force participation remained unchanged at 68.1 percent during the quarter.

The 1.0 percent increase in employment during the March 2010 quarter was driven by an increase in male full-time employment, which increased by 19,000. Female full-time employment also rose (up 7,000). This increase was partly offset by a decrease in the number of males and females employed part-time. Consistent with the growth in employment, actual hours worked rose by 1.7 percent during the quarter.

The (unadjusted) working-age population continued to grow during the March 2010 quarter, partly due to positive net permanent and long-term migration.

Highlights:

  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment decreased by 25,000 to 140,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 6.0 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 22,000 to 2,177,000.
Seasonally adjusted March 2010 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.0%
-1.1
+0.9
Unemployed
140,000
-15.1%
+19.3%
Employed
2,177,000
+1.0%
-0.1%
Not in the labour force
1,087,000
+0.2%
+2.6%
Labour force participation rate
68.1%
0
-03

December 2009 Quarter

The New Zealand unemployment rate may have peaked much lower than earlier expected.

Highlights

  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 18,000 to 168,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 7.3 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 2,000 to 2,152,000.
Seasonally adjusted December 2009 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
7.3%
+0.8
+2.6
Unemployed
168,000
+12.2%
+54.7%
Employed
2,152,000
-0.1%
-2.4%
Not in the labour force
1,086,000
+0.3%
+4.6%
Labour force participation rate
68.1%
+0.1
-0.9

September 2009 Quarter

Highlights

  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.5 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 12,000 to 150,000.
  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 17,000 to 2,154,000.
Seasonally adjusted September 2009 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.5%
+0.5
+2.2
Unemployed
150,000
+9.0%
+53.9%
Employed
2,154,000
-0.8%
-1.8%
Not in the labour force
1,083,000
+1.8%
+3.3%
Labour force participation rate
68.0%
-0.4
-0.6

June 2009 Quarter

Highlights

  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.0 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment increased by 24,000 to 138,000.
  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 10,000 to 2,169,000.
Seasonally adjusted June 2009 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
6.0%
+1.0
+2.0
Unemployed
138,000
+20.6%
+52.6%
Employed
2,169,000
-0.4%
+0.9%
Not in the labour force
1,065,000
+0.2%
-1.4%
Labour force participation rate
68.4%
+0.1
-0.1%

New Zealand is holding up better than most other OECD countries

Despite the increase in the unemployment rate, the New Zealand labour market is holding up better than most other countries. The unemployment rate still remains lower than the average of the OECD of 8.3% . New Zealand has been less affected by global events and is in a relatively better position than most other countries. This is due to factors such as having a strong labour market position when the downturn began, tax cuts and large reductions in interest rates.

March 2009 quarter

Highlights

  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 24,000 to 2,182,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 5.0 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate decreased to 68.4 percent.
Seasonally adjusted March 2009 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
5.0%
+0.3
+1.2
Unemployed
115,000
+6.8%
+35.1%
Employed
2,182,000
-1.1%
+0.8%
Not in the labour force
1,061,000
+2.3%
-1.2%
Labour force participation rate
68.4%
-0.7
+0.7%

September 2008 quarter

Highlights

  • Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 3,000 to 2,172,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 4.2 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate increased to 68.7 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted total actual hours worked per week fell by 0.9 percent.
September 2008 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
4.2%
+0.3
+0.7
Unemployed
94,000
+6.3%
+19.7%
Employed
2,172,000
+0.1%
+1.0%
Not in the labour force
1,034,000
+0.1%
+0.0%
Labour force participation rate
68.7%
+0.1
+0.4

June 2008 quarter

Highlights

  • Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 26,000 to 2,169,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate increased to 68.6 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted total actual hours worked per week increased 2.3 percent.
June 2008 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
3.9%
+0.2
+0.3
Unemployed
89,000
+8.7%
+10.1%
Employed
2,169,000
+1.2%
+0.7%
Not in the labour force
1,062,000
+2.5%
+1.4%
Labour force participation rate
68.6%
-0.9
-0.1

March 2008 quarter

In the March 2008 quarter:

  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased by 29,000 to 2,141,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.6 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate decreased to 67.7 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted total actual hours worked per week decreased 1.9 percent.
March 2008 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
Unemployment rate
3.6%
+0.2
-0.1
Unemployed
81,000
+5.5%
-2.2%
Employed
2,141,000
-1.3%
-0.2%
Not in the labour force
1,062,000
+3.4%
+4.3%
Labour force participation rate
67.7%
-0.9
-0.9

 

 

November 2007 quarter

BACKGROUND

This report informs you about the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) results for the September 2007 quarter. The HLFS was released by Statistics New Zealand on 8 November 2007. All figures refer to the working-age population (15 years and over) and are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified. Terms are defined in the appendix.

KEY POINTS

Labour market results mixed…

The HLFS results for the September 2007 quarter were mixed. There was a reduction in the number of people that were unemployed which helped drive the unemployment rate to a record low of 3.5%. However, employment declined slightly and the participation rate fell to 68.3% from a record high of 68.8% in the previous quarter. Mixed results overall were reflected in the results for various groups in the labour market. The Maori unemployment rate increased slightly from a record low while the rate for Pacific Peoples also increased. However, the participation rates for these two groups both increased and regional unemployment rates all remained below 5%. The results did not meet market expectations of moderate employment growth and steady participation, but outperformed the expected stable unemployment rate. Even with the decrease in employment in the latest quarter the labour market remains strong on an historical basis and we expect the labour market to remain tight over the coming year.

…as employment declined…

Employment fell by 0.3% to 2,150,000 in the September 2007 quarter following strong increases of 1.2% and 0.6% in the first two quarters of 2007. Despite the quarterly fall, it is still the second highest level ever recorded. Annual employment growth slowed slightly to 1.5% in the year to September 2007 down from 1.6% in the year to June 2007 (Figure 1).

The decrease in employment in the September 2007 quarter was caused by a fall in full-time employment. However, as in recent quarters, part-time employment continued to grow strongly. Growth in part-time employment has driven all of the employment growth over the last year. Part-time employment (fewer than 30 hours a week) increased by 1.3% or 6,000 in the quarter and is up by a substantial 8.2% over the year. Full-time employment decreased by 0.6% or 10,000 over the September 2007 quarter and 0.3% over the year. Male employment increased by 5,000 in the September 2007 quarter while female employment reversed recent increases and fell by 12,000. Total hours worked decreased by 0.3% in the September 2007 quarter, mirroring the fall in employment. This resulted in the average weekly hours per worker remaining the same at a relatively low 33.8.

Data table for Fig 1
Source: HLFS, Statistics New Zealand

Data table for Fig 2
Source: HLFS, Statistics New Zealand

… while the unemployment rate fell to a new record low…
The unemployment rate fell from 3.6% to a new record low of 3.5% in the September 2007 quarter (Figure 2). The unemployment rate has been relatively stable since falling below 4% in the second half of 2004.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate remains the fifth lowest of the 27 OECD nations with comparable data, and is one of only seven countries below 4.0%. Norway stays in first place at a low 2.5%, with South Korea, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan the other countries below 4.0%. However, New Zealand is the only one of these countries to remain below 4.0% for the thirteen quarters since September 2004. The OECD average unemployment rate remained the same at 5.4% in the September 2007 quarter.

Underemployment (part-timers who want to work more hours) rose to 78,100 in the September 2007 quarter, up from 69,600 a year earlier. As a proportion of part-timers, this is an increase from 15.1% to 15.7%. Despite the rise, underemployment remains relatively low on a historical basis.

…and the participation rate fell from the previous quarter’s record high
Due to the labour force decreasing by more than 0.4% and the working-age population increasing by 0.2%, the labour force participation rate fell from a record high of 68.8% to 68.3% in the September 2007 quarter. Despite the fall, the labour force participation rate in the September 2007 quarter is the same as that recorded a year earlier.

The fall in the participation rate was driven solely by a fall in female participation which decreased from a record high of 62.1% to 61.2%. The large fall in female participation reversed the gains made over the first half of 2007 however it is still similar to the rate recorded a year ago. Male participation remained unchanged for the second quarter in a row at 75.7%. While participation rates can be relatively volatile from quarter to quarter they remain high on a historical basis. Changes for particular groups can be driven by a range of factors including labour market conditions, policy initiatives and personal and family preferences.

Table 1: Recent HLFS results

Labour market indicator
Dec 2006
Mar 2007
Jun 2007
Sep 2007
Working-age population (000s)
3,235
3,248
3,255
3,262
quarterly % change
0.4
0.4
0.2
0.2
Employment (000s)
2119
2144
2157
2150
quarterly % change
0.0
1.2
0.6
-0.3
Unemployment (000s)
82
83
81
79
quarterly % change
-1.2
1.2
-2.4
-2.5
Labour force participation rate (%)
68.1
68.6
68.8
68.3
Unemployment rate (%)
3.7
3.7
3.6
3.5

Employment growth over the year based across several industries
Employment growth between the years to September 2006 and September 2007 was driven predominantly by strong growth in construction and accommodation, cafes & restaurants[1]. Communication services had the largest percentage increase of any industry over the last year (11.0%). In contrast, employment continued to decline in manufacturing and transport & storage, while finance & insurance also experienced a fall in employment.

All regions have an unemployment rate below 5%
The unemployment rate was below 5.0% in all regions for the year to September 2007 with the largest fall between the years to September 2006 and 2007 occurring in Bay of Plenty (4.1% to 3.3%). Unemployment rates were particularly low in the South Island with all regions at or below 3.5%. Manawatu-Wanganui had the highest unemployment rate at 4.9% in the year to September 2007, followed by Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay at 4.5% (Figure 3).

Maori unemployment rate rises but so does participation
The unemployment rate for Maori increased slightly to 7.7% for the year to September 2007, up from a record low of 7.6% for the year to June 2007 (Figure 4). The annual average unemployment rate for Europeans remained in the 2.6%-2.8% band in the September 2007 quarter, as it has since December 2004, while the rate for Pacific Peoples rose slightly to 7.0%.

Labour force participation rates remain high for all ethnic groups. The Maori participation rate rose to 67.8% in the September 2007 year which is the highest rate ever recorded for Maori. The participation rate for Pacific Peoples rose to 63.8%, while the rate for the ‘Other’ ethnic group remained at 64.3%, the highest rate for 15 years.

Labour market conditions remained similar for youth
The participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased slightly to 65.0% for the year to September 2007 from 64.9% for the year to June 2007. The unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds remained unchanged at 10.1%.

Although there were no significant changes for youth as a whole there were changes noticeable when youth are disaggregated into those aged 15-19 and those aged 20-24. The unemployment rate for 15-19 year olds increased to 14.5% for the year to September 2007, up from 14.0% for the year to June 2007. The participation rate for 15-19 year olds rose to 56.3%, up from 55.3%. For 20-24 year olds, results differed with the unemployment rate falling slightly to 6.5% for the year to September 2007, down from 6.8% in the year to June 2007. Their participation rate continued to fall from an eight year high of 76.1% in the year to December 2006 to 74.4% in the year to September 2007.

Maori unemployment rate rises but so does participation
The unemployment rate for Maori increased slightly to 7.7% for the year to September 2007, up from a record low of 7.6% for the year to June 2007 (Figure 4). The annual average unemployment rate for Europeans remained in the 2.6%-2.8% band in the September 2007 quarter, as it has since December 2004, while the rate for Pacific Peoples rose slightly to 7.0%.

Labour force participation rates remain high for all ethnic groups. The Maori participation rate rose to 67.8% in the September 2007 year which is the highest rate ever recorded for Maori. The participation rate for Pacific Peoples rose to 63.8%, while the rate for the ‘Other’ ethnic group remained at 64.3%, the highest rate for 15 years.

Labour market conditions remained similar for youth
The participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased slightly to 65.0% for the year to September 2007 from 64.9% for the year to June 2007. The unemployment rate for 15-24 year olds remained unchanged at 10.1%.

Although there were no significant changes for youth as a whole there were changes noticeable when youth are disaggregated into those aged 15-19 and those aged 20-24. The unemployment rate for 15-19 year olds increased to 14.5% for the year to September 2007, up from 14.0% for the year to June 2007. The participation rate for 15-19 year olds rose to 56.3%, up from 55.3%. For 20-24 year olds, results differed with the unemployment rate falling slightly to 6.5% for the year to September 2007, down from 6.8% in the year to June 2007. Their participation rate continued to fall from an eight year high of 76.1% in the year to December 2006 to 74.4% in the year to September 2007.

June 2007 quarter

Highlights

  • Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 14,000 to 2,158,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.6 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate increased to 68.8 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted total actual hours worked per week increased 0.3 percent.
June 2007 quarter
Quarterly change
Annual change
Unemployment rate
3.6%
-0.1
0.0
Unemployed
81,000
-2.9%
+1.5%
Employed
2,158,000
-0.7%
+1.5%
Not in the labour force
1,015,000
-0.4%
+0.9%
Labour force participation rate
68.8%
-0.2
+0.1

There is a companion Media Release published – Household Labour Force Survey: June 2007 quarter.

Household Labour Force Survey – December 2006 quarter

Highlights

  • Seasonally adjusted employment decreased (by 2,000) to 2,115,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.7 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate decreased to 67.9 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted total actual hours worked per week increased 0.5 percent.
 
December 2006 quarter
Quarterly change
Annual change
Unemployment rate
3.7%
-0.1
+0.1
Unemployed
82,000
-1.1%
+5.0%
Employed
2,115,000
-0.1%
+1.4%
Not in the labour force
1,037,000
+1.3%
+1.3%
Labour force participation rate
67.9%
-0.3
0.0

Brian Pink, Government Statistician 8 February 2007 Cat 61.900 Set 06/07 – 113 There is a companion Media Release published – Household Labour Force Survey: December 2006 quarter.

Employment market updates 2006

After a brief rise to 3.8% unemployment at the beginning of 2006, unemployment is once again back down to 3.6%. While both figures are marginally up from the historic labour force survey completed in 2004 which showed unemployment down as low as 3.4% our nationwide population in New Zealand is 4 Million. This means only 79,000 are unemployed. Press release articles that appeared on the 20th of September 2006 were indicating this may have dropped to as low as 39,342 however this could not be confirmed. What ever the truth unemployment in New Zealand is extremely low and has been this way for quite some time. The graph showing declining unemployment is exceptionally good news for a new migrant.

Household Labour Force Survey June 2006 quarter highlights

In the June 2006 quarter:

  • Seasonally adjusted employment increased (by 22,000) to 2,129,000.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 3.6 percent.
  • The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate increased to 68.8 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted total actual hours worked per week increased 1.4 percent.
June 2006 quarter
Quarterly change
Annual change
Unemployment rate
3.6%
-0.3
0.0
Unemployed
79,000
-8.5%
+1.5%
Employed
2,129,000
+1.0%
+3.0%
Not in the labour force
1,002,000
-0.5%
-2.0%
Labour force participation rate
68.8%
+0.3
+1.1

 

New Zealand’s historic achievement 2004

At 3.4 per cent, New Zealand’s unemployment rate is now the lowest in the developed world and the lowest ever recorded by the Household Labour Force Survey.

In addition to record-low unemployment the December HLFS also showed that female participation in the work force has reached a record high at over 60 per cent and long-term unemployment fell by a third in 2004.

Social Development and Employment Minister Steve Maharey welcomed the news and signaled that the government will continue to provide opportunities for those New Zealanders still needing to join the workforce. He also reiterated the government’s focus on addressing industry skills shortages.

“Reaching a world-leading 3.4 per cent unemployment rate is proof of the economic and social strength of 21st century New Zealand.

“Today’s announcement that New Zealand enjoys the lowest unemployment rate in the OECD is great news,” Steve Maharey said. “New Zealanders should be proud of this historic achievement.