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Unemployment Rate at 4.9 Percent

Unemployment Rate at 4.9 Percent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent in the December 2002 quarter, falling 0.5 percentage points from the September 2002 quarter figure of 5.4 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey.

The working age population has grown by 59,100 (2.0 percent) over the year, an increase that can be partly attributed to a net gain in permanent and long-term migration of 30,500.

Growth in employment has continued, with seasonally adjusted figures showing that employment grew by 8,000 (0.4 percent) over the quarter, to reach 1,886,000. The number unemployed decreased by 8,000 (7.5 percent) to reach 98,000. These changes in the labour force caused the unemployment rate to fall this quarter. The level of full-time employment was up by 0.8 percent to 1,461,000, while part-time employment fell by 1.2 percent to 424,000.

The change in the seasonally adjusted total labour force was flat (a fall of 0.1 percent) compared with the September 2002 quarter, with the increase in employment being largely offset by the fall in unemployment. During the quarter, those not in the labour force increased by 14,000 (1.4 percent) to 1,008,000. As the total labour force was static and those not in the labour force increased, the labour force participation rate fell by 0.3 percentage points over the quarter, to 66.3 percent.

All ethnic group unemployment rates (unadjusted) have decreased since December 2001. The unadjusted unemployment rates in the December 2002 quarter stood at 11.4 percent for Mäori, 8.2 percent for Pacific peoples, 7.9 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group and 3.3 percent for European/Päkehä.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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