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Labour market

Aucklanders make up around one-third of our working-age population and our total labour force

The Household Labour Force Survey for the September 2015 quarter showed a slightly lower labour force participation rate for Auckland (67.3 percent) than the national rate of 68.2 percent. Auckland’s unemployment rate of 6.2 percent was 0.2 percentage points higher than the national rate (6.0 percent). (Note that HLFS estimates in this report are not seasonally adjusted.)

Of the 835,000 people in the Auckland labour force, 75.2 percent were in full-time employment, 18.7 percent were in part-time employment, and 6.2 percent were unemployed. In comparison, in the rest of the country 72.5 percent were in full-time employment, 21.6 percent in part-time employment and 5.9 percent were unemployed.

The unemployment rate of youth aged 15–24 years was also higher in Auckland – 16.7 percent compared with 14.7 percent for the rest of New Zealand. However, the region’s proportion of youth (15–24 years) not in employment, education, or training (NEET) was the second-lowest in the country, at 8.3 percent in the September 2015 quarter. Only the Otago region had a lower NEET rate (7.3 percent).

Figure 4
Diagram showing Auckland's labour market in the September 2015 quarter.

The differences in Auckland’s labour market structure may be partly attributed to the younger age distribution and the higher proportion of students living and looking for work in the region.

For Aucklanders not participating in the labour force, there is a significantly higher proportion of students and a lower proportion of retired persons compared with the rest of New Zealand.

Table 3

 Main activities of those not in the labour force – Auckland region and rest of New Zealand
September 2015 quarter
 Main activity  Auckland region  Rest of New Zealand

 Percent

 Percent

 Studying  27.0  17.4
 Retired  40.5  51.3
 At home looking after children  13.9  13.0
 At home not looking after children  11.8  12.0
 Other (includes not specified)  6.8  6.4
 Source: Statistics New Zealand

Like the rest of New Zealand, the industry with the largest contribution to Auckland’s employment was health care and social assistance – 86,100 (11 percent) of Auckland workers were employed in the industry. This was followed closely by 81,300 employed in manufacturing.

The largest difference between Auckland and the rest of New Zealand was in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry, which contributed less than 1 percent to Auckland’s employment (compared with 9 percent for the rest of New Zealand). The professional, scientific, and technical services industry contributed 10 percent to employment in Auckland, but only 7 percent to employment in the rest of New Zealand.

Figure 5

Graph showing the key industries contributing to employment in the Auckland region and rest of New Zealand, for the September 2015 quarter.

Auckland’s construction industry had the largest employment growth over the past year compared with other industries –14,700 more people were employed (24.4 percent growth) over the year to September 2015.

Figure 6

Graph showing employment growth in the construction industry – Auckland region, annual percentage growth for 201o to 2015.

Unemployment varies across Auckland’s urban areas

The Auckland region can be split into four urban zones: northern, western, central, and southern. A fifth area – the ‘rest of Auckland’ – includes secondary and minor urban areas (such as Pukekohe and Waiuku), rural areas, and offshore islands.

Over the five years to September 2015, average unemployment rates differed across these urban areas. The southern Auckland zone had the highest average unemployment rate (8.2 percent); western Auckland zone and central Auckland zone had slightly lower rates (7.5 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively). The northern Auckland zone and the rest of Auckland had comparatively lower average unemployment rates (5.5 percent each).

Manufacturing was the leading contributor to employment in the western and southern urban zones, as well as the ‘rest of Auckland’. In the northern and central zones, the professional, scientific, and technical services industry contributed the most to employment. Employment in health care and social assistance was spread across all urban areas.

Figure 7
Map of Auckland showing the unemployment rate for Auckland's urban areas, average over five years to September 2015.


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