Labour force participation rate

The data in this indicator is no longer being updated.

Stats NZ is developing well-being indicators, Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa, to track New Zealand’s progress. As the well-being indicators have similar aims to the NZ Progress Indicators and NZ Social Indicators, we are reviewing the future of these existing indicators.

Please contact us at if you have any questions.

Why is this important for social statistics?

We measure the proportion of people in the labour force to help show the country’s production capability and job market trends. The size of the labour force is critical to New Zealand’s ability to produce goods and services. Short-term changes in the participation rate are linked to current job market conditions, which can vary with cycles of business growth.

This indicator measures the proportion of the working-age population in the labour force. The labour force includes all people who are either employed, or unemployed and looking for work.

  • Image, Labour force participation rate.

    Most recent data

    The graphs below are interactive. Hover over data points to see exact values. Click legend text to hide or show variables.

    Figure 1

    See information about this data.

    Figure 2

    Note: People who reported that they belonged to more than one ethnic group are counted once in each group reported.
    MELAA = Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African.

    ‘Other ethnicity’ includes people who identified as ‘New Zealander’.
    See information about this data.

    Figure 3



    Note: Restricted to people aged 15 to 64 years.
    See information about this data.

    Information about the New Zealand data

    Figures 1 and 2

    Date published: June 2017
    Next update expected: March 2018
    Update frequency: Annually
    Geographic coverage: National
    Demographic information available? Yes
    Internationally recognised measure? Yes
    Source: Stats NZ – Household Labour Force Survey 
    Purpose of the survey or data: To provide a regular, timely, and comprehensive portrayal of New Zealand’s labour force. Each quarter, Stats NZ produces a range of statistics relating to employment, unemployment, and people not in the labour force.
    Data quality: The working-age population is defined as the usually resident, non-institutionalised, civilian population of New Zealand aged 15 and over.
    See the ‘data quality’ section of the most recent survey at Labour Market Statistics – information releases.

    Information about the international data

    Figure 3

    Date published: April 2017
    Next update expected: Late 2018
    Update frequency: Annually
    Source: OECD – Labour force participation rate (indicator)  
    Geographic coverage: International
    Purpose of the survey or data: To compile data from labour force surveys across the world to provide the most accurate comparison of labour statistics. Data is stored in the OECD Employment Database and updated as information is obtained for each country.
    Data quality: Labour force participation rates (or activity rates) are standardised as best as possible to allow for international comparison.
    Labour force statistics in OECD countries: Sources, coverage and definitions (PDF, 438 kb) has more information.

    Want to know more?

    Stats NZ – Labour Market Statistics 
    Stats NZ – Infoshare 
    OECD – OECD.StatExtracts

Downloadable file:

Excel icon. Labour force participation rate – tables (Excel, 5 sheets, 39kb)

Includes breakdowns by sex, ethnic group, OECD country, and age group.

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