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Unemployment Rate 5.4 Per Cent

Household Labour Force Survey: March 2001 quarter

The March 2001 quarter seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey, the official measure of unemployment. The unemployment rate is the lowest 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.

Labour market conditions were largely unchanged between the December 2000 and March 2001 quarters, with the unemployment rate falling from 5.6 per cent. Seasonally adjusted figures show the level of employment remained stable this quarter, maintaining the growth seen in 2000. Unemployment levels have continued to decline, down 3,000 in the latest quarter. However those not in the labour force increased by 8,000 and consequently the labour force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points.

Labour market conditions continued to improve during the year. From the March 2000 quarter, seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment dropped by 16,000 (13.3 per cent). Employment grew by 41,000 (2.3 per cent), with the level of full-time employment up 43,000. Those in short-term and long-term unemployment decreased over the year from 73,300 to 64,400 and 39,100 to 30,500 respectively. The unemployment rate has fallen 1.0 percentage points from March 2000 and the labour force participation rate has increased by 0.4 percentage points to 65.6 per cent.

All ethnic groups showed declines in their unemployment rates during the year. The unadjusted unemployment rates for the March 2001 quarter were 12.0 per cent for Mäori, 11.2 per cent for Pacific peoples, 10.6 per cent for the 'Other' ethnic group and 4.2 per cent for European/Pakeha.

The lowest unadjusted unemployment rate in the March 2001 quarter was recorded in Southland (2.8 per cent), followed by Tasman/Nelson/West Coast/Marlborough (2.9 per cent). The highest unadjusted unemployment rate was recorded in the Bay of Plenty region (8.5 per cent), followed by the Northland region (7.7 per cent).



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