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National Labour Force Projections: 2015(base)–2068
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  17 December 2015
Definitions

About national labour force projections

National labour force projections give an indication of the future supply of people, usually living in New Zealand, available for work. The projections are based on different combinations of fertility, mortality, migration, and labour force participation assumptions.

These projections are not predictions. The projections should be used as an indication of the overall trend, rather than as exact forecasts. The projections are updated every 2–3 years to maintain their relevance and usefulness, by incorporating new information about demographic trends and developments in methods.

More definitions

Assumption: statement about a future course of behaviour (eg fertility, mortality, migration, labour force participation) from which projections of the labour force are derived.

Average hours worked (AHW): the average number of hours worked (or available for work) per week by people in the labour force.

Average working life (AWL): the average number of years a person would spend in the labour force if they experienced the labour force participation rates at each age 15–79 years. For example, the AWL for the year 2015 is based on labour force participation rates in that year, and takes no account of changes in labour force participation rates after that year.

Baby boomer: someone born in the years 1946–65, although the definition of the baby boom period varies between sources and between countries.

Cohort: a group of people sharing a common experience. For example, the 1900 birth cohort refers to people born in the year 1900.

Estimated resident population: an estimate of all people who usually live in New Zealand at a given date. It includes:

  • all residents present in New Zealand and counted by the census (census usually resident population count)
  • residents who are temporarily overseas (who are not included in the census)
  • an adjustment for residents missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount).

It excludes visitors from overseas.

Fertility: the demographic process relating to births, often summarised by birth rates and fertility rates. Fertility should not be confused with fecundity, which is the biological capacity of a population to bear children.

Labour force: the population aged 15 years and over who regularly work for one or more hours per week for financial gain, or work without pay in a family business, or are unemployed and actively seeking part-time or full-time work. This definition is used in the Household Labour Force Survey and the Census of Population and Dwellings, and conforms closely to the international standard definition specified by the International Labour Organization.

Labour force participation rate (LFPR): the proportion of a population in the labour force.

Life expectancy (period): the average length of life remaining at a given age, assuming people experience the age-specific death rates of a given period from the given age onwards. For example, life expectancy at birth for the period 2012–14 is based on death rates in that period, and takes no account of changes in death rates after that period.

Median age of the labour force: half the labour force is younger, and half the labour force is older, than this age.

Median projection: the 50th percentile, which indicates an estimated 50 percent chance that the actual result will be lower, and a 50 percent chance that the actual result will be higher, than this percentile.

Mortality: the demographic process relating to deaths, often summarised by death rates, survival rates, and life expectancy.

Percentile: indicates the distribution of values (such as projection results or assumptions). For example, the 25th percentile indicates an estimated 25 percent chance that the actual result will be lower, and a 75 percent chance that the actual result will be higher, than this percentile.

Percentiles are non-additive except the 50th percentile (median). For example, percentiles for the labour force aged 15–39 and 40–64 years cannot be added together to give the equivalent percentile for the labour force aged 15–64 years.

Shading in graphs indicates the chance that actual results will fall within a certain range. Different shading is used to distinguish different ranges.

Projection: indication of the future characteristics of the labour force based on an assessment of past trends and assumptions about the future course of demographic behaviour (eg fertility, mortality, migration, labour force participation).

Stochastic (probabilistic) projection: a projection which varies randomly according to the probability distributions of the assumptions (eg about fertility, mortality, migration, labour force participation).

Total fertility rate (period): the average number of live births that women would have during their life if they experienced the age-specific fertility rates of a given period. For example, the total fertility rate for the year 2014 is based on fertility rates in that year, and takes no account of changes in fertility rates after that year. 

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