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Unemployment Rate At 5.9 Per Cent

Household Labour Force Survey: September 2000 Quarter

The September 2000 quarter seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey, the official measure of unemployment. The unemployment rate is now at a similar level to December 1996 when it was 6.0 per cent. The last time the unemployment rate was below 6.0 per cent was in the June 1988 quarter when it was 5.2 per cent. The unemployment rate reached a peak of 10.9 per cent in September 1991.

There was an improvement in the labour market between the June and September 2000 quarters with the unemployment rate falling from 6.1 per cent. Seasonally adjusted figures show the number unemployed dropping by 3,000 (2.6 per cent), the number employed increasing by 22,000 (1.2 per cent), and the labour market participation rate increasing by 0.6 percentage points to 65.5 per cent. The growth in employment was driven by an increase of 25,000 (1.8 per cent) in full-time employment. This rise in full-time employment is reflected in the quarterly 2.8 per cent increase in total actual hours worked for an average week.

The improvement in the labour market for the September 2000 quarter is also evident when compared with a year ago. The seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment has dropped by 16,000 (12.6 per cent), employment grew by 37,000 (2.1 per cent), the unemployment rate has fallen 0.9 percentage points and the labour force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 65.5 per cent.

Over the year all ethnic groups showed declines in their unemployment rates. The surveyed (unadjusted) unemployment rates for the September 2000 quarter were 4.2 per cent for European/Pakeha, 14.2 per cent for Mäori, 11.3 per cent for Pacific peoples and 8.0 per cent for the 'Other' ethnic group. This order has remained the same for most of the last three years.

Several industry groups had significant changes in surveyed (unadjusted) employment over the year. Employment in the Construction industry increased by 9,700 with this growth occurring in the December 1999 and March 2000 quarters. There was also employment growth in the Accommodation, Cafes and Restaurants industry (up 11,300) and in Education (up 11,000). Employment fell by 13,400 in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing over the year.

The region with the highest unadjusted unemployment rate in the September 2000 quarter was Northland (8.7 per cent), followed by Bay of Plenty (8.1 per cent). Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast had the lowest unemployment rate of 4.6 per cent. Ends

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