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Household Labour Force Survey: March 2002 Quarter

9 May 2002

Unemployment Rate at 5.3 Percent Statistics New Zealand's March 2002 quarter Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) showed continued growth in overall labour supply. The working age population rose 16,400 (0.6 percent) over the quarter. This increase can partly be attributed to a net gain of 8,500 from permanent and long-term migration to the working age population, continuing a similar trend shown in the December 2001 quarter. Higher numbers of people were recorded as employed, while the number of people recorded as unemployed decreased. This led to a decrease in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 5.3 percent.

In the March 2002 quarter the labour force participation rate grew to 66.9 percent. This is the highest participation rate recorded since the survey began in the December 1985 quarter. The unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.3 percent. Seasonally adjusted figures show that the level of employment increased by 24,000 (1.3 percent). Employment growth was evenly split between full- and part-time employment, with an increase of 14,000 in each category. The level of unemployment decreased by 1,000 (1.0 percent), while those not in the labour force also decreased by 7,000 (0.7 percent) to 977,000.

Over the year, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points while the labour force participation rate increased by 1.3 percentage points. The seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment increased by 1,000 (1.0 percent) and employment grew by 63,000 (3.5 percent). The levels of full-time and part-time employment were up by 30,000 (2.1 percent) and 36,000 (9.0 percent) respectively.

While the European/Päkehä unemployment rate remained relatively stable over the year, all other ethnic group unemployment rates declined since the March 2001 quarter. The surveyed (unadjusted) unemployment rates for the March 2002 quarter were 4.2 percent for European/Päkehä; 10.8 percent for Mäori; 9.7 percent for Pacific peoples and 10.2 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group.

Brian Pink Government Statistician


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