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Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.7 Percent

Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.7 Percent

The seasonally adjusted Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) results for the June 2005 quarter show a continuation of the tight labour market conditions experienced at the end of 2004, Statistics New Zealand said today. The number of people employed rose and unemployment decreased, resulting in a reduction of 0.2 of a percentage point in the unemployment rate to 3.7 percent. New Zealand now has the lowest unemployment rate within the group of OECD countries that have standardised unemployment rates.

While both male and female employment rose, most of the overall movement was due to an increase in female employment, which was driven by a rise in female full-time employment. The increase in total full-time employment is reflected in the 2.9 percent increase in actual hours worked. There was very little movement in part-time employment levels.

The working-age population increased by 8,400 in the June 2005 quarter (0.3 percent) but growth continues to slow, both on a quarterly and an annual basis. This is reinforced by a slowing in net gains from permanent and long term migration. The total labour force also grew by 0.3 percent while the number of people not in the labour force increased by 0.1 percent. This resulted in a slight increase (0.1 of a percentage point) in the labour force participation rate to 67.7 percent which, with the December 2004 quarter, is the equal highest rate recorded.

In summary, the gradual slowing of growth in the working-age population, combined with the continuing growth in employment, indicates a further reduction in the capacity of the labour market to meet employers' demand for labour. Meanwhile, employment is at the highest level recorded by the HLFS and the unemployment rate is the second lowest rate recorded.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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