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Unemployment rate drops to 3.4 percent

7 February 2008

Unemployment rate drops to 3.4 percent

In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate was at its lowest level in the December 2007 quarter since the survey began in March 1986, Statistics New Zealand said today. The survey also recorded the highest number of people in employment and in the labour force, as well as the highest labour force participation rate.

Over the December 2007 quarter the unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points to 3.4 percent. The female unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 percent, which is the lowest rate recorded in the 20-year history of the survey, while the male unemployment rate increased to 3.4 percent. The number of people unemployed decreased by 2,000 (2.8 percent) driven by a drop in female unemployment, while male unemployment increased.

Employment increased by 23,000 (1.1 percent) to reach 2,173,000 in the December 2007 quarter, the highest level recorded since the survey began. This growth was driven by female employment, while male employment decreased. Over the quarter, full-time employment grew by 26,000 (1.6 percent), and part-time employment dropped by 1,000 (0.2 percent).

The number of people in the labour force increased by 21,000 (0.9 percent) to 2,249,000 over the December 2007 quarter, while the working-age population grew by 11,700 (0.4 percent). As the labour force increased at a greater rate than the working-age population, the labour force participation rate rose from 68.3 percent to 68.8 percent. The female participation rate increased to 62.4 percent, the highest ever recorded, while the male participation rate dropped to 75.4 percent.

The unadjusted unemployment rates by ethnic group for the December 2007 quarter were: 7.3 percent for Māori, 5.4 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group, 4.7 percent for Pacific peoples and 2.3 percent for European. Geoff Bascand Government Statistician 7 February 2008


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