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More misinformation over unemployment statistics

18 February 2003 Media Statement

More misinformation over unemployment statistics

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey is correcting more misinformation about unemployment statistics contained in a media release issued by Act MP Muriel Newman yesterday.

Dr Newman claims that the government regards New Zealanders working one hour or more as employed and therefore not officially counted as unemployed in Statistics New Zealand’s Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). This is despite the HLFS also asking people surveyed whether they would like to undertake more paid work – a figure which the HLFS reports as underemployment in each release of the survey.

“It is not correct to say that the government using misleading unemployment statistics. The HLFS used in New Zealand is the same survey used across the OECD. This is to ensure that we can accurately compare the state of our labour market with other nations.

“Statistics New Zealand has since October 1985 asked people the same questions they would be asked across the OECD to determine our official unemployment rate. Currently a random sample of just over 15,000 households are surveyed each quarter.

“Along with asking whether people are in paid work or not, the survey also asks people if they are employed part time but would prefer to work more hours. These figures also reported in the quarterly results and are totally transparent,” Steve Maharey said.


For information on the Household Labour Force Survey, including a description of the survey methodology, visit Statistics New Zealand’s website at

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