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Labour market weak

Household Labour Force Survey: December 2012 quarter – Media Release

The unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent in the December 2012 quarter, down from 7.3 percent in the September 2012 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“We saw the unemployment rate fall this quarter after a rise last quarter. Although the unemployment rate fell, it is still 0.5 percentage points higher than a year ago,” industry and labour statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

The number of people in the labour force fell in the latest quarter, with falls in both the number of people employed and unemployed. As a result, the labour force participation rate fell 1.2 percentage points to 67.2 percent. The number of people outside the labour force increased.

“We're seeing fewer people working and looking for work, and more people outside the labour force. More younger people are solely in study and more older people are entering retirement,” Ms Ramsay said.

In the December 2012 quarter the employment rate fell from 63.4 percent to 62.6 percent – the third quarter in a row it has fallen. There were 23,000 fewer people in employment, a fall of 1.0 percent. The fall was in part-time employment. Full-time employment rose slightly over the quarter.

The number of unemployed people fell 10,000 over the quarter. Fewer men were unemployed, while the number of women unemployed was flat.

Definitions of the labour market and more information about our labour market statistics are available on our website.

The Household Labour Force Survey results are based on a representative sample of 15,000 households throughout New Zealand. The survey is designed to produce reliable estimates of the numbers of people employed, unemployed, and not in the labour force.

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