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Hours worked in employment per week


'Hours worked in employment per week' is the total number of hours usually worked in employment per week by all people aged 15 years and over, who, at the time of the census:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit, in a job, business, farm or professional practice, or
  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work that contributed directly to the operation of a business, farm or professional practice owned or operated by a relative, or
  • had a job or business they were temporarily absent from.

Relationship to questionnaire(s)

Data on hours worked in employment per week comes from question 40 on the individual form (PDF 395kb).

Subject population

The subject population is the people, families, households or dwellings to whom the variable applies.

The subject population for this variable is the employed census usually resident population aged 15 years and over.

Non-response rate

The 2006 non-response rate was 5.1 percent.

The 2001 non-response rate was 4.5 percent.

Quality Management Strategy priority level

Hours worked in employment per week is a defining variable.

The Census Quality Management Strategy assigns a priority level to all census variables.

Defining variables cover key subject populations that are important for policy development, evaluation or monitoring. These variables are given secondary priority in terms of quality, time and resources across all phases of the 2006 Census.

All data must meet minimum quality standards in order to make it suitable for use.

Comparability with 1996 and 2001 Census data

There are no issues affecting the comparability of this data with 1996 and 2001 Census data.

Comparability with other data

The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) publishes employment data by hours worked in employment. The census attempts to use similar criteria and question wordings to the HLFS to determine a person's labour force characteristics, such as hours worked in employment. However, there are a number of important differences between the two data sources that mean that direct comparison is not always possible, particularly below the national level and specifically for cross-classifications of variables. The differences between the two data sources include differences in scope, coverage (including under- and over-coverage), timing, non-response, editing practice, question wordings and method of delivery (self administered versus interviewer administered). Additionally, the HLFS is a sample survey. The HLFS is the official measure of employment and unemployment in New Zealand, but, depending on the type of analysis being undertaken, it will often be more appropriate to use census data. Statistics New Zealand can assist data users in determining the best data source for their particular data need.

Significant issues

There are no significant issues that users need to be aware of.

Other things to be aware of

  • In the 2006 Census, 9.0 percent of those giving a valid response to 'hours in all other jobs' gave the same figure for hours in main job. In the 2001 Census, 9.2 percent gave the same figure. Testing showed that some respondents interpret the 'hours in all other jobs' category as asking for total hours – with the result that they give the same hours figures twice (eg '40', '40'). This has the impact of inflating the total hours figure in the census, and inflating derived measures like multiple job holders.
  • All census data was subject to considerable checks (including edits) during processing and evaluation, to ensure that it meets quality standards and is suitable for use. These checks were applied to data supplied both on paper and on Internet forms. In addition to these quality checks, the Internet form had built-in editing functionality that directed respondents to the appropriate questions and ensured that their responses were valid. As a result of this, data from Internet forms may be of higher overall quality than data from paper forms. The significance of this will depend on the particular type of analysis being done.
  • There were differences between how the forms were completed on the Internet and on paper for this variable:
    • The Internet form allowed 0 to 168 hours to be entered in each of the numeric boxes for hours worked in 'main job' and 'in all other jobs'. If more than 168 hours was entered, a message popped up to alert the respondent and they had to change their response. Responses outside the valid range were possible when forms were completed on paper.
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