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Unemployment Rate at 6.4 Per Cent

Household Labour Force Survey: March 2000 quarter

The March 2000 quarter seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey, the official measure of unemployment. This compares with 6.3 per cent in the previous December quarter and 7.2 per cent in the March 1999 quarter.

Labour market conditions have remained largely unchanged from the December to March quarters after the strong gains registered in the December 1999 quarter. There was a small decline in the number of people employed, with unemployment increasing slightly. These movements meant the unemployment rate increased marginally. The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate dropped from 65.5 per cent to 65.3 per cent over the quarter.

Employment

On a seasonally adjusted basis, an estimated 1,765,000 people were employed in the March 2000 quarter. While this decreased by 6,000 over the quarter the number of employed is up 24,000 from the March quarter of last year.

The seasonally adjusted number of people in full-time employment has risen by 5,000 in the quarter. This is the fifth consecutive increase bringing the level of full-time employment to an all-time high of 1,366,000.

Unemployment

The level of seasonally adjusted unemployed stood at 120,000 for the March 2000 quarter. Of this figure, 67,000 were male and 53,000 were female. The number of long-term unemployed as a proportion of total unemployed has fallen for both the quarter and the year.

Unemployment rates by ethnic group

In the March 2000 quarter the unadjusted unemployment rates stood at 5.0 per cent for European/Pakeha, 14.6 per cent for Mäori, 12.3 per cent for Pacific Islands people and 11.1 per cent for the 'Other' ethnic group.

Regional statistics

The highest unadjusted unemployment rate in the March 2000 quarter was recorded in Taranaki (9.8 per cent), followed by Northland (9.0 per cent). The lowest unemployment rate was recorded in the West Coast/Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough region at 4.9 per cent, followed by Canterbury at 5.9 per cent.

Age group

In the March 2000 quarter the youngest age groups had the highest unemployment rates. The 15-19 year age group had an unadjusted unemployment rate of 18.3 per cent and the 20-24 year olds had a rate of 11.9 per cent. The lowest unemployment rate was seen in the 45-49 year age group (3.7 per cent), followed by the 50-54 year age group (4.4 per cent).

The largest annual drop in unemployment (31.7 per cent) occurred in the 30-34 year age group.

Len Cook
GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN
END

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