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Comparing our labour market statistics

Statistics New Zealand publishes a suite of labour market statistics. These are the following quarterly releases:

and the following experimental monthly series:

This page explains what measures of employment are included in each release, the timings, and coverage. Because of differences in coverage and timing, each of these measures provides a different view of employment.

To compare measures, see the trends for each of our labour market statistics in the graph below.

 Graph, Filled jobs and people employed

National Employment Indicator

Coverage

The NEI covers filled jobs where employees were paid wages or salaries in the calendar month, by an employer who filed an EMS return. This is an experimental monthly series.

Includes:

  • individuals who received earnings from which pay as you earn (PAYE) tax was deducted in the reference month. This includes jobs filled by self-employed people who pay themselves a wage or salary. People who had multiple jobs during the reference month are counted multiple times, once for each job. 

Excludes:

  • individuals with a missing taxpayer code, or invalid IRD number
  • individuals whose income is not taxed at source
  • individuals whose details were withheld from data supplied by Inland Revenue to Statistics NZ
  • individuals who receive a benefit only
  • individuals on unpaid leave
  • unpaid jobs.
Timing

We release data monthly, eight weeks after the reference month which relates to the entire reference month.

Measure

The NEI measures the total number of filled jobs filled over the reference month, not the number of people employed. This means that a person with multiple jobs during the reference month is counted multiple times. top 

Quarterly Employment Survey

Coverage

The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES) is a sample of business locations selected from a population of economically significant enterprises in surveyed industries. We allocate weights to each of the selected business locations to represent the population. Weights are based on employee counts sourced from the Business Frame.

An economically significant enterprise is one that meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • has annual GST expenses or sales greater than $30,000
  • has at least three for its rolling mean employment (the average employee count over the previous 12 months)
  • recorded over $40,000 of income in the IR10 annual tax return
  • is part of a group of enterprises
  • is a new GST registration that is compulsory, special, or forced
  • is registered for GST and involved in agriculture or forestry.

Business locations in the following Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification 2006 (ANZSIC06) industries are not surveyed as part of the QES:

  • A01 Agriculture
  • A02 Aquaculture
  • A04 Fishing, hunting, and trapping
  • A052 Agriculture and fishing support services
  • L6711 Residential property operators
  • O7552 Foreign government representation
  • O76 Non-civilian defence staff
  • S96 Households employing staff 
  • T99 Not included elsewhere.
Timing

Data is released quarterly and relates to a single reference week. This is the week ending on, or immediately before, the 20th of the middle month of the quarter. Data is released within six weeks of the end of the reference quarter.

Measure

The QES measures the number of filled jobs, not the number of people employed. This means that a person with multiple jobs during the reference week could be counted multiple times.

The QES jobs estimates include:

  • full-time equivalent employees (FTEs): the number of full-time employees plus half the number of part-time employees (Infoshare Series Reference QEXQ.SG)
  • filled jobs: all full-time employees, plus part-time employees, plus working proprietors (Infoshare Series Reference QEXQ.SF). top

Household Labour Force Survey

Coverage

The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) target population is the civilian, usually resident, non-institutionalised population aged 15 years and over. Responses from the HLFS are assigned weights to produce estimates that are representative of the population. The population for the HLFS is based on estimated national resident population estimates, adjusted to be consistent with the scope of the HLFS.

This means that the statistics from the HLFS do not cover:

  • long-term residents of homes for older people, hospitals, and psychiatric institutions
  • inmates of penal institutions
  • members of the permanent armed forces
  • members of the non-New Zealand armed forces
  • overseas diplomats
  • overseas visitors who expect to be resident in New Zealand for less than 12 months
  • those aged less than 15 years.
Timing

Data is released quarterly. It is an average for the three-month period that makes up the quarter and does not apply to any specific point in time. Data is released within six weeks of the end of the reference quarter.

Measure

The HLFS measures the number of people employed (Infoshare Series Reference HLFQ.S1A). That is, all people in the working-age population who, during the reference week:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment
  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative
  • had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday. top 

Linked Employer-Employee Data (quarterly)

Coverage

The Linked Employer-Employee Data (LEED) quarterly statistics cover filled jobs where employees were paid wages or salaries on the 15th of the middle month of the quarter, by an employer who filed an EMS return.

Includes:

  • employees who had PAYE deducted from their earnings in the reference month 
  • self-employed people who pay themselves a wage or salary 
  • foreign residents, diplomats, and members of permanent armed forces 
  • employees on paid leave 
  • employees aged 15 years and over 
  • all industries.

Excludes:

  • individuals with an invalid IRD number
  • individuals whose income was not taxed at source
  • individuals whose details were withheld from data supplied by Inland Revenue to Statistics NZ
  • individuals who received only a benefit
  • employees on unpaid leave
  • unpaid jobs.
Timing

Data is released quarterly, 12 months after the reference quarter, and relates to filled jobs on the 15th of the middle month of the reference quarter.

Measure

LEED measures the number of filled jobs, not the number of people employed. This means that a person with multiple jobs on the reference day is counted multiple times. top

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