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NZ real unemployment steady at 8.5%

New Zealand real unemployment steady at 8.5% and a further 11.3% (up 2.7%) of workforce are under-employed
[Full article with charts: New Zealand real unemployment steady at 8.5% and a further 11.3% (up 2.7%) of workforce are under-employed - Roy Morgan Research]

• February 04 2014


• Finding No. 5408


• Topic: Unemployment Public Opinion

This Roy Morgan survey on New Zealand’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly interviews covering October - December 2013 and in total 6,239 New Zealanders aged 14 and over were interviewed.

In the December Quarter 2013 according to Roy Morgan:

New Zealand unemployment was 8.5% (unchanged since the September Quarter 2013) of the 2,614,000 in the NZ workforce – an estimated 223,000 (unchanged) were unemployed and looking for work.

A further 11.3% (up 2.7%) of the workforce* were under-employed – that is working part-time but looking for more work – 296,000 (up 69,000) New Zealanders.

In total 19.8% of the workforce (519,000, up 69,000) New Zealanders were either unemployed or under-employed.

The latest Roy Morgan unemployment estimate of 8.5% is now 2.3% above the 6.2% currently quoted by Statistics New Zealand for the September Quarter 2013.

Compared to a year ago there are 37,000 more New Zealanders now employed, and unemployment is now 0.9% less than the December Quarter 2012 (9.4%).

Gary Morgan says:

“The latest Roy Morgan New Zealand December Quarter 2013 employment figures show New Zealand unemployment at 8.5% (unchanged from September Quarter 2013). However, New Zealand under-employment – those working part-time but looking for more work – has jumped to a record high 11.3% (up 2.7%). It should be noted that this is the fourth year in a row that under-employment has increased in the December Quarter. However, this year’s increase is substantially larger than in previous years and must represent a major concern for Prime Minister John Key seeking re-election.

“This means a total of 19.8% (up 2.7%) New Zealanders are either unemployed or under-employed – almost identical to the figure earlier last year in the March Quarter 2013 of 19.9%. Total New Zealand unemployment and under-employment is also significantly higher than when Prime Minister John Key won the 2011 Election (19.0%). Key clearly needs to reduce unemployment and under-employment during 2014 to have a strong chance of winning re-election to a third term in November.

“The latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a potential Labour/ Greens alliance (46%) with a strong lead over Key’s National (43.5%) in January with the result of the election likely to depend on support from a range of minor parties contesting the election.”


This Roy Morgan survey on New Zealand’s unemployment and ‘under-employed’* is based on weekly interviews covering October - December 2013 and in total 6,239 New Zealanders aged 14 and over were interviewed.

*The ‘under-employed’ are those people who are in part-time work or consultants who are looking for more work.

The Roy Morgan New Zealand Unemployment estimate is obtained by surveying a New Zealand-wide cross section by telephone. An unemployed person is classified as part of the labour force if they are looking for work, no matter when.

The results are not seasonally adjusted and provide an accurate measure of monthly unemployment estimates in New Zealand. The Statistics New Zealand Unemployment estimates are obtained by mostly telephone interviews.

Households selected for the Statistics New Zealand Labour Survey are interviewed each quarter for up to two years (eight interviews), with one-eighth of the sample being replaced each quarter. The first interview is conducted face-to-face. Subsequent interviews are then conducted by telephone.

Statistics New Zealand classifies an unemployed person as part of the labour force only if, when surveyed, they had actively sought work in the past four weeks ending with the reference week and were available for work or had a new job to start within the next four weeks.

Statistics New Zealand Unemployment estimates are also seasonally adjusted. For these reasons the Statistics New Zealand Unemployment estimates are different from the Roy Morgan Unemployment estimate.

There is a similar divergence caused in Australia’s ABS Unemployment estimates and the Roy Morgan Australian Unemployment estimates. Roy Morgan Executive Chairman Gary Morgan's concerns regarding the ABS Unemployment estimate are clearly outlined in his letter to the Australian Financial Review, which was not published.

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