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Unemployment Rate Falls To 5.6 Per Cent

Household Labour Force Survey: December 2000 quarter

The December 2000 quarter seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.6 per cent according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey, the official measure of unemployment. The unemployment rate is the lowest rate recorded since June 1988 when it was 5.2 per cent. The unemployment rate reached a peak of 10.9 per cent in September 1991.

There was continued improvement in the labour market between the September and December 2000 quarters with the unemployment rate falling from 5.8 per cent. Seasonally adjusted figures show the number unemployed dropping by 3,000 (2.7 per cent), the number employed increasing by 20,000 (1.1 per cent), and the labour market participation rate increasing by 0.4 percentage points to 65.9 per cent. The quarterly growth in employment was driven by an increase of 14,000 (1.0 per cent) in full-time employment.

The improvement in the labour market for the December 2000 quarter is also evident when compared with the December quarter a year ago. The seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment has dropped by 11,000 (9.2 per cent), employment has grown by 36,000 (2.0 per cent), the unemployment rate has fallen 0.7 percentage points and the labour force participation rate has increased by 0.5 percentage points.

Over the year all ethnic groups showed declines in their unemployment rates. The unadjusted unemployment rates for the December 2000 quarter were 13.0 per cent for Mäori, 11.4 per cent for Pacific peoples, 8.1 per cent for the 'Other' ethnic group and 4.0 per cent for European/Pakeha. This order has remained the same for most of the last three years.

The highest unadjusted unemployment rate in the December 2000 quarter was recorded in Northland (8.7 per cent), followed by Gisborne/Hawke's Bay (7.4 per cent). The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in the Tasman/Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast and Wellington regions, both at 4.7 per cent.



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