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Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.3 Per Cent

Household Labour Force Survey: December 1999 quarter

Unemployment Rate Falls to 6.3 Per Cent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the December 1999 quarter dropped to 6.3 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey, the official measure of unemployment. This rate is the lowest since December 1996 and has decreased from 6.8 per cent in the September 1999 quarter and 7.7 per cent a year ago.

Over the quarter there has been an improvement in labour market conditions, with strong growth in employment, a continuing decline in unemployment and an increase in the labour force participation rate.

Employment Over the December 1999 quarter there has been an increase of 24,000 in the level of seasonally adjusted employment. The level of employment is now 1,771,000 up 47,000 from a year ago. Over the quarter male employment increased by 15,000 and female employment increased by 9,000. Since the December 1998 quarter, the number of males employed has increased by 27,000 while the number of females has risen by 20,000. The annual increase in employment was mainly located in full-time employment (up 44,000) while part-time employment has increased by 3,000.

Unemployment The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed has fallen to 119,000, the lowest level since December 1996. This is the fourth consecutive quarterly fall in the level of unemployment. A fall of 8,000 in the level of male unemployment has driven a drop in total unemployment over the quarter of 11,000. Over the year male unemployment dropped by 14,000 and female unemployment fell by 11,000, giving a total fall in unemployment of 25,000 over the year . Both the number of short-term and long-term unemployed has fallen.

The surveyed number of jobless has decreased by 9,800 over the quarter and by 31,100 from a year ago. The jobless is a broader group than the unemployed, as it includes those who are actively seeking work but not available to start work and those available for work but not actively seeking work, as well as those who are officially unemployed.

Regional statistics The highest unemployment rate in the December 1999 quarter was in Northland (8.9 per cent) followed by Gisborne/Hawke's Bay (8.8 per cent) and Taranaki (8.6 per cent). The lowest unemployment rate was recorded in Wellington at 4.0 per cent followed by Auckland at 5.0 per cent.

Ethnic group statistics Between the December 1998 and December 1999 quarters, all the ethnic groups recorded a decrease in their unemployment rate and an increase in the number of people employed.

In the December 1999 quarter, the unadjusted unemployment rates stood at 4.5 per cent for European/Pakeha, 14.5 per cent for M?ori, 12.2 per cent for Pacific Islands people and 9.7 per cent for the 'Other' ethnic group.

Employment by industry Industry groups to record significant annual changes in the number of people employed were the Property and Business Services group (up 21,400), the Wholesale and Retail Trade group (up 18,100), and the Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants group (down 10,400).

Len Cook GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN END


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