Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

www.stats.govt.nz

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Household Labour Force Survey: September 2014 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  05 November 2014
Commentary

Overview

In the September 2014 quarter, the number of people employed increased by 18,000, while the working-age population increased by 15,000. The employment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 65.2 percent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent over the quarter. This decrease reflected 4,000 fewer people unemployed.

The labour force participation rate increased to 69.0 percent as the labour force grew by 14,000 people.

 Labour market diagram - Sept 2014

Employment growth outpaces population growth

In the September 2014 quarter, the number of people employed increased by 18,000 to reach 2,346,000, in seasonally adjusted terms. As employment growth (0.8 percent) exceeded working-age population growth (0.4 percent), the employment rate increased to 65.2 percent, up from 65.0 percent last quarter.

Over the year to the September quarter, the number of people employed increased by 72,000 (3.2 percent). Annual employment growth has slowed since the March and June 2014 quarters, which both showed annual growth of 3.7 percent, the highest rate of growth since the December 2004 quarter.

Over the latest quarter, the female employment rate increased 0.6 percentage points, to reach 59.7 percent. This was the fourth-highest employment rate on record for women and the highest since the December 2008 quarter, which was 60.1 percent. Over the year to the September 2014 quarter, the female employment rate rose 0.9 percentage points.

The male employment rate fell 0.3 percentage points over the quarter but rose 0.7 percentage points over the year. The male employment rate was 71.0 percent for the September 2014 quarter.

 

More people in full-time employment

More people were working full-time in the September 2014 quarter compared with the same time last year. Full-time employment increased 3.7 percent over the year and 0.7 percent over the quarter. It has now risen for eight quarters in a row.

The number of people in part-time work increased 1.0 percent over the year, and decreased 0.6 percent over the quarter.

Actual and usual hours worked are increasing

The number of actual and usual hours people worked per week grew over the year to the September quarter. The total number of actual hours worked increased 3.3 percent, and the number of usual hours worked increased 3.4 percent. These annual rises in actual and usual hours follow large annual increases in the June 2014 quarter, up 4.8 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively.

Actual and usual hours also increased over the quarter, up 0.3 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

Unemployment continues to fall

In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in the September 2014 quarter – down 0.2 percentage points from the June 2014 quarter. This is the lowest it has been since the March 2009 quarter, when it was 5.2 percent.

The fall in the unemployment rate reflected 4,000 fewer unemployed people over the latest quarter. The male unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 4.6 percent, and the female unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points to 6.3 percent.

Over the year to the September quarter, the number of unemployed people decreased by 14,000 and the unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points. Over the same period, the male unemployment rate fell 1.0 percentage point while the female unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points.

The fall in unemployment over the year came from falls in both short-term and long-term unemployment. In unadjusted terms, the number of people in short-term unemployment fell by 10,900, to 78,400, and the number of people in long-term unemployment fell by 2,700, to 41,300.

Short-term unemployment includes people who have been unemployed for less than 27 weeks; long-term unemployment includes those unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

Fall in the number of jobless

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

In the year to the September 2014 quarter, the number of people in the jobless category fell by 29,300 (11.4 percent). This reflected 14,000 fewer people unemployed and 11,500 fewer people actively seeking but not available for work.

Labour force participation still at record levels

In the September 2014 quarter, the labour force participation rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 69.0 percent – the third-highest level since the series began in 1986, and slightly below the record high of 69.2 percent in the March 2014 and the December 2008 quarters. The rise in participation came as the labour force grew at a faster pace than the working-age population, up 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

The female participation rate returned to its record high of 63.7 percent – equal to the March 2014 quarter. The male participation rate fell 0.4 percentage points over the latest quarter.

Over the year to the September quarter, the labour force participation rate rose 0.4 percentage points. The female participation rate increased 0.7 percentage points and the male rate increased 0.1 percentage points.

Canterbury continues to lead national employment growth

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

In the year to the September 2014 quarter, Canterbury accounted for almost half the national employment growth. Canterbury employment rose by 34,400 people (10.6 percent) and its employment rate increased 3.3 percentage points to 70.1 percent. The unemployment rate fell 1.0 percentage point to 3.2 percent, although this movement was not statistically significant.

Employment in the Canterbury construction industry remained strong, with 13,800 more people employed since the September 2013 quarter. Employment in the retail trade and accommodation industry also grew in Canterbury (up 7,800 people).

Employment also grew in other regions. Over the year to the September quarter, employment in Auckland grew by 15,400 people and Waikato employment grew by 14,300 people, although the Auckland movement was not statistically significant.

Excluding Canterbury and Auckland from the national estimates, employment in New Zealand was up 20,600 (1.7 percent) over the year.

Construction employment growth continues

While construction in Canterbury remained strong, employment in the construction industry also grew outside the Canterbury region in the year to the September 2014 quarter. Nationally, 33,500 more people were employed in construction over the year, accounting for just under half the national growth in employment.

More people were also employed in the arts, recreation, and other services industry (up 18,400 people), and the public administration and safety industry (up 11,600 people).

Employment outcomes improve for most ethnic groups

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

Employment outcomes have improved for most ethnic groups, with more European, Māori, Asian, and Pacific peoples employed in the September 2014 quarter than a year earlier. Employment rates for these ethnic groups also increased, although these movements were not statistically significant.

The unemployment rate for Pacific peoples was 4.0 percentage points lower than one year ago, down from 15.7 percent to 11.7 percent. The unemployment rate for Pacific women fell 6.2 percentage points, reflecting 3,700 fewer Pacific women being unemployed over the year. The unemployment rate for Pacific men also fell, although this fall was not statistically significant.

NEET rate is flat

The seasonally adjusted NEET (not in employment, education, or training) rate for youth aged 15–24 years rose 0.2 percentage points from the June 2014 quarter, to 11.4 percent.

Over the latest quarter, the NEET rate for youth aged 15–19 years fell 0.3 percentage points, while the NEET rate for youth aged 20–24 years rose 0.5 percentage points.

Over the year to the September quarter, the NEET rate for youth aged 15–24 years rose 0.1 percentage points. The rate for youth aged 15–19 years fell 0.9 percentage points while it rose 0.9 percentage points for youth aged 20–24 years. The annual rise in the NEET rate for the 20–24-year age group came as 5,000 more youth aged 20–24 were not in the labour force, not in education, and not caregiving.

The unadjusted NEET rates for Pacific peoples and Māori were lower than at the same time last year, down 4.3 and 3.1 percentage points, respectively. However, these annual movements were not statistically significant.

We’re changing the way we report our labour market statistics

We are strongly focused on delivering the information New Zealand needs to grow and prosper, and one of the ways we’re doing this is by presenting our information in a more holistic and joined-up way.

We can provide a more complete picture of the labour market by combining the Household Labour Force Survey, the Quarterly Employment Survey, and the Labour Cost Index information releases. Doing this doesn’t involve any changes to the surveys themselves, but will ensure that labour market information is easy for our users to understand. In developing this approach we worked with users to ensure this change will meet our customers’ needs.

We’re keen to get your feedback and comments. See Contacts for our contact details.

The first joint labour market information release is scheduled for the December quarter results on 4 February 2015.

Evaluating new series for seasonality

Several new series have been added to the Household Labour Force Survey over the past year. We have reviewed several of these series for seasonal patterns and for the possibility of publishing seasonally adjusted series.

We have also reviewed the group of series that examine ethnicity by labour force status, and key seasonally adjusted series that are monitored every quarter. 

See Evaluation of new series for seasonality for more information.

For more detailed data, see the Excel files in the 'Downloads' box.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Top
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+