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More people seek work as labour force participation reaches record high
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 February 2015

Labour Market Statistics: December 2014 quarter  –  Media Release

The unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent in the December 2014 quarter, while the labour force participation rate reached a record 69.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Employment didn’t keep up with the record number of people entering the labour force, so even though employment growth was also strong over the quarter, the unemployment rate increased," labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said

Annually, the number of people employed rose 3.5 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). While Auckland and Canterbury remain key contributors to national employment growth, employment growth in Canterbury eased in the year to the December 2014 quarter compared with previous quarters.

In the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), the number of filled jobs reported by businesses rose 2.5 percent.

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI), increased 1.8 percent, compared with annual consumer price inflation of 0.8 percent. Average hourly earnings (QES) rose 2.6 percent over the year.

December 2014

Quarterly change

Annual change 











Filled jobs





Percentage points

Employment rate




Unemployment rate




Labour force participation rate






Average ordinary time hourly earnings




Wage inflation (salary and
wage rates, including overtime)




Our labour market indicators include the HLFS, QES, and LCI. The HLFS is a broad measure of labour market activity by individuals, while the QES measures demand by established firms for paid work and hourly earnings. The LCI is a measure of wage inflation. Results from all three surveys are based on representative samples from across New Zealand.

Explaining labour market statistics has more information on these indicators.

For media enquiries contact: Diane Ramsay, Wellington 04 931 4600,
Authorised by Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician, 4 February 2015

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