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: March 2010 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  06 May 2010
Commentary

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.

 

Unemployment – seasonally adjusted

In the March 2010 quarter, the number of people unemployed dropped by 25,000 (15.1 percent) down to 140,000. This is the first fall in unemployment, following more than two years of increasing unemployment. The number of unemployed males fell by 17,000 (19.0 percent) to 71,000, while the number of unemployed females fell by 8,000 (10.6 percent) to 69,000.

The seasonally adjusted fall of 25,000 in the number of people unemployed during the quarter was caused by an atypical fall in the number of people unemployed, particularly among young males. Usually, in the March quarter, temporary employment associated with the Christmas and New Year period and seasonal agricultural activity declines. This seasonal pattern typically causes unemployment to rise. As there was an unexpected fall in unemployment this quarter, this has been accentuated when seasonal influences were removed.

Annually, the number of people unemployed rose by 23,000 (19.3 percent). Both male and female unemployment increased, up by 8,000 (12.4 percent) for males, and 15,000 (27.4 percent) for females.

The unemployment rate fell by 1.1 percentage points, down to 6.0 percent during the March 2010 quarter. This compares with 7.1 percent in the December 2009 quarter and 5.1 percent in the March 2009 quarter.

Graph, Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted.

   Graph, Unemployment rate by sex, seasonally adjusted.

Unadjusted annual movements

In the March 2010 quarter, the male unemployment rate fell 1.3 percentage points, down to 5.8 percent, while the female unemployment rate fell by 0.8 percentage points, down to 6.3 percent. Annually, both the male and female unemployment rates increased, by 0.6 and 1.3 percentage points, respectively.

In unadjusted terms, the number of people unemployed during the year to March 2010 increased markedly for those aged 15–19 years (up by 8,500 to reach 40,700), those aged 25–29 years (up by 7,200 to reach 18,300), and those aged 50–54 years (up by 4,200 to reach 10,200).

The number of people unemployed also increased significantly in Auckland (up by 11,200 to reach 56,300) and in Otago (up by 3,200 to reach 7,600) since the March 2009 quarter.

Employment – seasonally adjusted

Employment increased by 22,000 (1.0 percent), to reach 2,177,000 during the March 2010 quarter, following on from a revised 0.1 percent increase in the December 2009 quarter. Annually, employment decreased by 0.1 percent.

During a March quarter, unadjusted employment typically falls. However, the fall this quarter was not as large as usual, which when seasonal factors are removed resulted in an increase in adjusted employment.

Full-time employment drove the increase, with a rise of 26,000 (1.6 percent) during the March 2010 quarter, to reach 1,684,000. Part-time employment fell 3,000, down to 494,000. In annual terms, part-time employment decreased, down by 2,000 (0.5 percent), while full-time employment remained flat.

During the March 2010 quarter, male employment rose by 16,000, up to 1,158,000. This was entirely driven by a rise in male full-time employment of 19,000 (1.9 percent) and partly offset by a fall in male part-time employment of 1,000 (1.0 percent). Annually, male employment rose 3,000 (0.2 percent), with an increase of 4,000 (0.4 percent) in male full-time employment, and a decrease of 2,000 (1.3 percent) in part-time employment during the year to March 2010.

Female employment also increased during the quarter, with an increase of 6,000 (0.6 percent). This was also driven by full-time employment, with an increase of 7,000 (1.1 percent), while the number of females employed part-time fell by 1,000 (0.3 percent). Annually, female employment decreased by 5,000 (0.4 percent), with falls in both full-time and part-time employment of 4,000 (0.5 percent) and 1,000 (0.2 percent), respectively.

 

 

Unadjusted annual movements

In unadjusted terms, employment for those aged 15–19 years decreased by 15,100 to 120,900 during the year to March 2010. In contrast, employment for those aged 60–64 years rose by 11,900 for the same period, to reach 150,400. By region, the number of people employed in Waikato decreased by 11,700 to 199,000, while employment in Otago increased by 17,200, taking the number of people employed up to 114,500.

Since this time last year, the number of people employed in the wholesale trade industry increased notably by 16,200, as did the number employed in public administration and safety, increasing by 11,800. On the other hand, the number of people employed in rental, hiring, and real estate services fell by 9,200.

Working-age population – unadjusted

The working-age population grew by 13,600 (0.4 percent) during the March 2010 quarter, and by 51,300 (1.5 percent) during the year to reach 3,412,100. Part of the quarterly increase was due to a net gain from permanent and long-term migration. (See International Travel and Migration: March 2010 for more information.)

In the year to March 2010, the working-age population increased in Auckland (by 42,800 to 1,053,600) and in Otago (by 22,500 to 176,400). The Waikato region showed a decrease of 11,600 people in the working-age population, down to 306,600.

Labour force participation – seasonally adjusted

The labour force participation rate remained flat at 68.1 percent during the March 2010 quarter. Annually, the labour force participation rate fell by 0.3 percentage points. The total labour force decreased by 3,000 (0.1 percent) to 2,317,000 during the March 2010 quarter. Annually, the labour force increased by 21,000 (0.9 percent).

During the March 2010 quarter, the male labour force participation rate remained flat at 74.4 percent, while the female participation rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 62.1 percent. Both the male and female participation rates decreased in the year to March 2010, falling by 0.5 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively. 

 

Total hours worked – seasonally adjusted

The total number of actual hours worked per week rose 1.7 percent during the March 2010 quarter to reach 72,501,000 hours. The number of usual hours worked per week also increased, up by 0.3 percent to 78,848,000 hours. On an annual basis, both the total number of actual and usual hours worked per week decreased, by 0.7 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

 

Jobless – unadjusted

The jobless are defined as those people who are either officially unemployed, available but not seeking work, or actively seeking but not available for work. Annually, the number of jobless has risen by 38,900 people, up to 263,000.

Underemployment – unadjusted

The number of underemployed people (employed people who work part-time and would prefer to work more hours) may serve as a measure of underutilised labour in the economy. Of the 474,300 people employed part-time in the March 2010 quarter, 21.1 percent (99,900) preferred to work more hours. This compares with 22.9 percent in the December 2009 quarter and 21.2 percent in the March 2009 quarter.

During the March 2010 quarter, 26.7 percent of males working part-time preferred to work more hours compared with 18.9 percent of females.

Duration of unemployment – unadjusted

On an annual basis, short-term unemployment (those unemployed for 26 weeks or less) increased by 9,500 (10.0 percent), to 103,800. During the same period, the number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks) increased by 15,600 (81.5 percent), reaching 34,800. Of the total number of unemployed people in the March 2010 quarter, 67.7 percent had been so for 26 weeks or less, while 22.7 percent had been unemployed for longer than 26 weeks. 

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

94.4

103.8
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

14.7
  3.7
S
 19.2

 23.7
   7.0
   4.1
  34.8
Not specified  15.3   14.8
Total unemployment 128.8 153.5
Symbol: S suppressed

Participation in formal study – unadjusted

In the March 2010 quarter, 278,200 people were participating in formal study, a 5.4 percent increase from the same quarter in 2009. Unemployed people were the most likely to be involved in formal study in the March 2010 quarter, with 13.7 percent participating. This compares with 10.1 percent of people who were not in the labour force, and 6.8 percent of those who were employed.

Ethnic group statistics – unadjusted

Ethnicity series are now published using the single/combination output method of classification. With this method, people are counted just once according to the ethnic group or combination of ethnic groups they have reported. Please refer to the 'Technical notes' section of this release for more information.

Annually, unadjusted unemployment rates increased significantly for the Māori only, Asian only, MELAA only, and 'other ethnicity' only ethnic groups. 

Single/combination unemployment rate (unadjusted) by ethnic group
  March 2009 quarter (percent) March 2010 quarter (percent)
 European only  3.9  4.4
 Māori only 10.7 14.2
 Pacific peoples only 13.6 14.4
 Asian only  6.7  9.8
 MELAA only 12.0 16.2
'Other ethnicity' only  2.3  5.7
 European/Māori 11.6 13.0
 Two or more groups not elsewhere included 11.8 10.3
 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 13.6 percent for the March 2010 quarter. This figure is known as the total response Māori unemployment rate. There has been an increase of 2.4 percentage points since the March 2009 quarter, when the total response Māori unemployment rate was 11.2 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.

 

 

 

 

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

Next release ...

Household Labour Force Survey: June 2010 quarter will be released on 
5 August 2010.

  • 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+