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Labour market strengthening
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  05 May 2011

Household Labour Force Survey: March 2011 quarter  –  Media Release

New Zealand’s seasonally adjusted total employment rose by 30,000 (1.4 percent) in the March 2011 quarter, with increases in both full-time and part-time employment, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Employment rose for both males and females in the latest quarter. This rise in employment was primarily due to a rise in the number of people working part-time.

The number of unemployed fell by 2,000 (1.4 percent) to 155,000. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 6.6 percent in the March 2011 quarter. The female unemployment rate remained at 7.0 percent while the male unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent.

On an annual basis, employment has grown by 39,000 – with equal growth in male and female employment. Contributing to this was an increase in the number of self-employed people during the year. 

"There has also been a steady rise in trend employment since the September 2009 quarter. Together, these results indicate signs of continued strengthening in the labour market," labour market statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

The earthquake that struck the Canterbury region on 22 February 2011 caused some disruption to interviewing. Statistics New Zealand suspended interviewing in parts of Canterbury, which meant we did not interview about 800 of the 2,200 Canterbury households in the survey sample over the March 2011 quarter.

Since there was no interviewing in such a large area of Canterbury, any changes in labour force status as a result of the earthquake will not be observed in this quarter’s results. More information is included in the 'Technical notes' of the March 2011 quarter information release.

The Household Labour Force Survey results are based on a representative sample of 15,000 households throughout New Zealand. The survey is designed to produce estimates of the numbers of people employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force.

 Geoff Bascand  5 May 2011
 Government Statistician  
END

For media enquiries contact:
Diane Ramsay
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

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