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Unemployment rate reaches 5.0 percent
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  07 May 2009

Household Labour Force Survey: March 2009 quarter  –  Media Release

In seasonally adjusted terms, the labour market continued to weaken in the March 2009 quarter, with the number of people unemployed continuing to rise, Statistics New Zealand said today. The unemployment rate increased for the fifth consecutive quarter, to reach 5.0 percent. Both the labour force participation rate and the number of people employed fell.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points during the March 2009 quarter to reach a six year high of 5.0 percent. The male unemployment rate increased by 0.5 percentage points, to 5.1 percent, while the female unemployment rate rose to 4.9 percent, from 4.8 percent in the December 2008 quarter. The number of unemployed has increased by 7,000 during the March 2009 quarter to reach 115,000. Since the March 2008 quarter, the number of people unemployed has risen by 30,000.

The labour force participation rate has decreased by 0.7 percentage points to 68.4 percent during the March 2009 quarter, with falls for both females and males.

The number of people employed decreased during the March 2009 quarter, down by 24,000 (1.1 percent) to 2,182,000, with falls in both full-time and part-time employment. On an annual basis however, the number of people employed has increased by 17,000 (0.8 percent).

 Geoff Bascand 7 May 2009  
 Government Statistician  

END

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