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Unemployment Rate at 5.4 Percent


Unemployment Rate at 5.4 Percent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in the September 2002 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS).

This compares with 5.1 percent in the June 2002 quarter and 5.3 percent this time last year. The change in the unemployment rate is largely a result of continued growth in labour supply, with a higher proportion of people in the labour force moving into unemployment, rather than directly into employment.

The working age population has grown by 56,100 (1.9 percent) since the September 2001 quarter, an increase that can be partly attributed to a net gain in permanent and long-term migration of 29,400 over the year.

Seasonally adjusted figures show that in the September 2002 quarter the total labour force grew by 0.5 percent to 1,986,000. Both the number employed and unemployed increased, by 3,000 (0.2 percent) and 6,000 (5.9 percent), respectively. There are now 1,878,000 people employed and 107,000 people unemployed. Those not in the labour force increased by 5,000 (0.5 percent) over the quarter, to reach 994,000. Overall these factors had no net effect on the labour force participation rate, which remained at 66.6 percent. Employment growth was evident in full-time employment, which increased by 4,000 (0.3 percent) over the quarter. Over the same period, there was no change in part-time employment.

Since the September 2001 quarter, the labour force participation rate has increased by 0.6 percentage points. Year on year, those not in the labour force decreased by 1,000 (0.1 percent) and people employed grew by 50,000 (2.7 percent). The levels of full-time and part-time employment were up by 43,000 (3.1 percent) and 8,000 (1.9 percent) respectively.

The year on year changes in the unadjusted unemployment rates by ethnic group are small. In the September 2002 quarter, the rates were 12.0 percent for Mäori, 9.3 percent for Pacific peoples, 8.5 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group and 3.8 percent for European/Päkehä.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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