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Unemployment Rate Down to 6.8 Per Cent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen for the third quarter in a row to 6.8 per cent in the September 1999 quarter according to Statistics New Zealand's Household Labour Force Survey, the official measure of unemployment. This rate is the lowest since December 1997 and has decreased from 7.0 per cent in the June 1999 quarter and 7.5 per cent a year ago.

Employment has increased, unemployment has fallen and the labour force participation rate has remained steady. The movements in employment and unemployment have caused the unemployment rate to fall.

Employment

In the September 1999 quarter seasonally adjusted figures show there were 1,746,000 people employed. This is an increase of 4,000 from the June 1999 quarter and up 25,000 from a year ago. While the quarterly increase was due to an increase in male employment, the annual increase was spread between males (up 12,000) and females (up 13,000). The increase in employment over the year was driven by a 26,000 increase in full-time employment. There were 1,351,000 people in full-time employment and 397,000 in part-time employment in the September 1999 quarter. The seasonally adjusted number of people in full-time employment increased by 23,000 between the June and September 1999 quarters. This is the third consecutive quarterly rise in seasonally adjusted full-time employment.

Unemployment

Seasonally adjusted figures show 128,000 people unemployed in the September 1999 quarter, of which 73,000 were male and 55,000 were female. The total number of unemployed was 3,000 lower than in the previous quarter and 11,000 lower than a year ago.

Regional Statistics

For the first time since the December 1997 quarter all regions had an unemployment rate of less than 10 per cent. The highest unemployment rates in the September 1999 quarter were in the Bay of Plenty (8.8 per cent) and Northland (8.5 per cent). The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Wellington at 5.0 per cent followed by Southland at 5.4 per cent.

Ethnic Group Statistics

Mäori employment increased by 12,100 and employment in the 'Other' ethnic group rose by 9,500 between the September 1998 quarter and the September 1999 quarter.
In the September 1999 quarter the unadjusted unemployment rates stood at 5.1 per cent for European/Pakeha, 14.8 per cent for Mäori, 15.0 per cent for Pacific Islands people and 9.3 per cent for the 'Other' ethnic group.

Employment by industry

Comparing the September 1999 quarter with a year ago, there was a 22,000 increase in the number of people employed in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing group. Both male and female employment in this group increased by 13,300 and 8,800 respectively.

The other industry groups to record significant annual changes in the number of people employed were the Communication Services group (total employment up 6,600) and the Wholesale and Retail Trade group (female employment down 11,300).

ends

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