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Background about the rebase

We weight HLFS sample data up to the total population, using national population estimates from the Census of Population and Dwellings. The total population is derived each quarter by updating estimates from the latest census with estimates of births, deaths, and net migration for the quarter.

As we move further from the base census estimates, the level of uncertainty in our estimates is likely to increase. After each census, we update sample weights to account for the most-recent population count. Due to the earthquakes in Canterbury in 2010/11, there was a seven-year period after the 2006 Census, which further increased the level of uncertainty in our population estimates. Reweighting (or rebasing) allows us to use the most-accurate population estimates for the HLFS.

In this rebase, we are introducing regional population benchmarks in the updated weights. The regional benchmarks enable us to produce more-accurate labour force statistics at the regional level. These benchmarks are in addition to our current sets of benchmarks: sex by five-year age bands, and Māori by sex for the 15–29 and 30+ age groups.

As part of a rebase, we revise historical data using the updated weights. Usually the revisions only go back to the previous population census. However, as regional benchmarks have also been added, we have revised the HLFS series back to the beginning of the survey (March 1986). This ensures consistency between past and current trends and movements.

The differences in the key series from the March 1986 quarter to the June 2006 quarter are due to introducing the regional population benchmarks. Differences starting from the September 2006 quarter are due to both the introduction of regional benchmarks and revisions to population estimates based on the 2013 Census.

HLFS results for the March 2015 quarter (release date 6 May 2015) onwards will use the new regional benchmarks and population estimates based on the 2013 Census.

See Future of the Household Labour Force Survey for more background information about the rebase and the introduction of regional benchmarks.

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