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Household Labour Force Survey: September 2010 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 November 2010
Commentary

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.

 Diagram, labour market overview

 

Unemployment – seasonally adjusted

During the September 2010 quarter, unemployment decreased by 10,000 people (6.1 percent) to 150,000. Male unemployment fell by 15,000 (17.7 percent) to 71,000, while female unemployment rose by 5,000 (7.4 percent) to 80,000.

Annually, unemployment has remained flat, though there have been compositional changes underneath. Male unemployment has fallen by 11.4 percent, while female unemployment has risen by 13.6 percent.

The unemployment rate fell by 0.5 percentage points to 6.4 percent during the September 2010 quarter. The male unemployment rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, down to 5.7 percent, while the female unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points, up to 7.2 percent during the quarter.

Since the September 2009 quarter, the unemployment rate has fallen by 0.1 percentage points, down from 6.5 percent.

The trend series

As well as adjusting for seasonal effects, the trend series removes the irregular component from a series. This can help reveal the underlying movement of the series.

The trend shows unemployment flat at 151,000. The trend unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points during the quarter, down to 6.4 percent.

 Graph, Unemployment rate by sex

   Graph, unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted trend

 

Unadjusted annual movements

Notable unadjusted annual movements are as follows. The number of unemployed people aged 15–19 years decreased significantly during the September 2010 year, down 5,700 (14.5 percent) to 33,400. By region, the number of people unemployed decreased notably in Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay (down 3,700) and Canterbury (down 4,100).

Employment – seasonally adjusted

Employment increased by 23,000 (1.0 percent) during the September 2010 quarter. Annually, employment increased by 39,000 (1.8 percent).

The rise in employment comprised an increase of 13,000 (2.7 percent) in part-time employment and an increase of 10,000 (0.6 percent) in full-time employment. Annually, part-time employment increased by 0.8 percent, while full-time employment increased by 2.1 percent.

Both male and female employment increased during the quarter. Male employment increased by 21,000 (1.9 percent), with part-time employment increasing by 6.2 percent and full-time increasing by 1.4 percent. Female employment increased by 1,000 (0.1 percent), with part-time employment increasing by 1.8 percent and full-time decreasing by 0.6 percent.

Graph, Full-time employment

 

Graph, Part-time employment

 

The trend series

The trend series shows that employment grew by 11,000 (0.5 percent) during the quarter, reaching 2,188,000. Male employment grew by 11,000 (0.9 percent) to 1,171,000, while female employment remained at 1,018,000.

Unadjusted annual movements

Notable unadjusted annual movements are as follows. During the September 2010 year, employment increased by 11,900 for those aged 65 years and older. The number of people employed in the Otago region increased by 19,300.

By industry, employment rose in agriculture, forestry, and fishing (up 13,200) and electricity, gas, water, and waste services (up 4,600) since the September 2009 quarter. Employment in the financial and insurance services industry fell by 8,600 during the same period.

Working-age population – unadjusted

The working-age population grew by 8,700 (0.3 percent) during the September 2010 quarter, and by 46,000 (1.4 percent) in the year to the September 2010 quarter, to reach 3,430,000. There was a 4,400 gain from net permanent and long-term migration. (See International Travel and Migration: September 2010 for more information.)

In the year to the September 2010 quarter, the working-age population increased significantly in Waikato (up 4.5 percent), Bay of Plenty (up 6.8 percent), and Otago (up 10.2 percent).

Labour force participation – seasonally adjusted

The labour force participation rate increased to 68.3 percent during the September 2010 quarter. This is a quarterly increase of 0.2 percentage points and an annual increase of 0.3 percentage points.

During the quarter, the male labour force participation rate increased by 0.4 percentage points, while the female participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points. In the year to the September 2010 quarter, male labour force participation rose by 0.6 percentage points, while female participation remained steady.

The total labour force increased by 13,000 people (0.6 percent) during the quarter. Annually, the labour force has risen by 40,000 (1.7 percent).

Graph, Labour force participation 

Total hours worked – seasonally adjusted

The total number of actual hours worked per week rose by 0.8 percent during the September 2010 quarter. During the same period, the number of usual hours worked fell by 0.2 percent. Annually, the total number of actual hours worked per week rose by 3.0 percent and usual hours worked rose by 1.0 percent.

 Graph, Total hours worked

Jobless – unadjusted

The jobless are defined as those people who are either officially unemployed, available but not actively seeking work, or actively seeking but not available for work. Since the September 2009 quarter, the number of jobless people has fallen by 10,500 (4.1 percent), down to 243,500. The decrease was driven by a decrease in the number of people who are available but not actively seeking work, or actively seeking but not available for work. Annually, the number of people unemployed remained flat.

Underemployment – unadjusted

The number of underemployed people (people employed part-time who would prefer to work more hours) may serve as a measure of labour under-utilisation in the economy. Of the 503,700 people employed part-time in the September 2010 quarter, 21.8 percent (110,000) would prefer to work more hours. This compares with 20.6 percent in the June 2010 quarter and 24.4 percent in the September 2009 quarter.

During the September 2010 quarter, 29.0 percent of males working part-time would have preferred to work more hours, compared with 18.9 percent of females.

Duration of unemployment – unadjusted

Annually, short-term unemployment (those unemployed for 26 weeks or less) fell by 1,600 (1.7 percent) to 95,100. During the same period, the number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks) rose by 2,900 (8.1 percent) to 38,300. Of the total number of unemployed people in the September 2010 quarter, 65.8 percent had been so for 26 weeks or less, while 26.5 percent had been unemployed for longer than 26 weeks.

Duration of unemployment (unadjusted)
  September 2009 quarter (000) September 2010 quarter (000)
Short-term unemployment
26 weeks or less

  96.7

 95.1
Long-term unemployment
Over 26 weeks, but not over one year
Over one year, but not over two years
Over two years
Total long-term unemployment


  25.9
    6.5
    3.0
  35.5


 28.0
   7.0
   3.4
 38.3
Not specified   12.3  11.0
Total unemployment 144.5 144.5

 

Participation in formal study – unadjusted

During the September 2010 quarter, 317,900 people were participating in formal study, a 1.2 percent annual increase. Unemployed people were the most likely to be involved in formal study, with 14.5 percent participating. This compares with 11.1 percent of those not in the labour force and 8.0 percent of those who were employed.

Ethnic group statistics – unadjusted

Annually, unemployment rates increased significantly for the Māori only and MELAA only ethnic groups.

Single/combination unemployment rate (unadjusted) by ethnic group
  September 2009 quarter (percent) September 2010 quarter (percent)
 European only   4.5   4.3
 Māori only 14.2 16.2
 Pacific peoples only 12.3 13.5
 Asian only   8.5   8.0
 MELAA only   8.0 11.1
'Other ethnicity' only   3.7   2.7
 European/Māori 10.4   9.4
 Two or more groups not elsewhere included 14.5 13.4
 Note: MELAA = Middle Eastern/Latin American/African

The unemployment rate for all people who identified with the Māori ethnic group (including those who also identified with other groups) was 13.4 percent in the September 2010 quarter. This figure is known as the total response Māori unemployment rate. This rate has increased by 0.4 percentage points since the September 2009 quarter, when it was 13.0 percent.

Longer time series

The following graphs show the HLFS series for the number of people employed, the labour force participation rate, and the unemployment rate over a 15-year period. A complete time series from March 1986 onwards is available on request.

 Graph, Employment

 Graph, Labour force participation

 Graph, Unemployment rate

Impact of Canterbury earthquake on the survey results

The earthquake that struck the Canterbury region on 4 September 2010 caused some disruption to interviewing. For a two-week period following the earthquake, Statistics New Zealand suspended interviewing in Christchurch city and in the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts. This resulted in the loss of 300 households from the survey sample.

The loss of these households was handled via the survey’s usual adjustment methods for non-response. This ensured that the final published population estimate for Canterbury is consistent with the established time series. Without this, the region’s working-age population would have been underestimated.

Analysis shows that the loss of these households did not introduce any bias into the survey. Any inconsistencies were well within sampling error bounds.

 

For technical information contact: 
Will Bell or Michelle Barnes
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz  

Next release ...

Household Labour Force Survey: December 2010 quarter will be released on 
3 February 2011.

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