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Unemployment Rate at 4.7 Percent

Unemployment Rate at 4.7 Percent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent, according to Statistics New Zealand's June 2003 quarter Household Labour Force Survey. Seasonally adjusted results also show a quarterly employment growth of 0.8 percent.

Seasonally adjusted employment has shown an upward trend over the past four years, with growth averaging 0.6 percent per quarter over that period. A downward trend in unemployment, which commenced in December 1998, has slowed, oscillating at around 100,000 for the past two years, at an average unemployment rate of 5.1 percent.

The working age population has shown strong growth since mid-2001, with more than half of the growth attributable to net gains in permanent and long-term migration. The increasing supply of labour has fed employment growth in response to a strong demand for labour in the economy.

This demand has absorbed the growing labour supply and also drawn from existing groups of both unemployed and those not in the labour force. However, over the past five quarters, there has been some growth of those not in the labour force. This is because the growth in the total labour force has not been as great as the growth in the working age population. Consequently, the labour force participation rate has declined over the past five quarters and now stands at 66.2 percent.

Other seasonally adjusted results in the June 2003 quarter show an estimated 95,000 people unemployed (compared with 99,000 in the March 2003 quarter and 102,000 in the June 2002 quarter) and 1,911,000 persons employed (compared with 1,896,000 last quarter and 1,874,000 a year ago). The fall in unemployment was driven largely by the 15 to 24 age group.

There has not been a corresponding increase in employment for this age group. Instead there has been an increase in the number of people not in the labour force.

The seasonally adjusted total labour force stood at 2,006,000 for the June 2003 quarter and the seasonally adjusted number for those not in the labour force was 1,023,000 (compared with 989,000 in the June 2002 quarter).

The unadjusted unemployment rate for the Pacific peoples ethnic group decreased significantly during the year to June 2003. The unadjusted unemployment rates for European/Päkehä, Mäori, and other ethnic groups in the June 2003 quarter were also lower than in the June 2002 quarter.

The unadjusted unemployment rates in the June 2003 quarter stood at 10.4 percent for Mäori, 8.3 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group, 7.1 percent for Pacific peoples and 3.4 percent for European/Päkehä.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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