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Purpose and summary

Purpose

This paper informs Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) users about the effect of the population rebase that followed the 2013 Census. This includes the introduction of regional population benchmarks to our sample weights.

Summary

We have revised the historical HLFS data back to the beginning of the survey (March 1986) and investigated the effect of the population rebase and introduction of regional benchmarks on our series. While there were changes to the levels of our key labour force statistics, the quarterly movements were largely unchanged at the national level.

We found the following main effects:

  • An overall downward revision in the working-age population.
  • A decrease in the number of people employed, and a relatively smaller decrease in the number of people not in the labour force.
  • No change in the number of people unemployed, and the unemployment rate remained at 5.7 percent for the December 2014 quarter.
  • While the working-age population decreased for both men and women, the decrease was considerably larger for men.
  • The working-age population was revised downwards for people aged 20 to 34 years, and revised upwards for those aged 35 to 49 years. There was minimal change for the 50+ age group.
  • Before we introduced regional benchmarks, the unadjusted working-age population for the upper North Island (Northland, Auckland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty) was underestimated, while lower North Island and South Island levels were generally overestimated.
  • The Auckland region’s working-age population and number of people employed were revised up for most of the time-series. On the other hand, the working-age population and number of people employed in Canterbury were revised down.
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