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Unemployment Rate at 4.0 Percent

Household Labour Force Survey: June 2004 quarter Embargoed until 10:45am — 10

August 2004 Unemployment Rate at 4.0 Percent

The labour market continues to tighten, according to the June 2004 quarter Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) results released by Statistics New Zealand. This is reflected by quarterly employment growth of 0.9 percent, an increase of 1.5 percent in total actual hours worked, and a fall in the unemployment rate to 4.0 percent. As in recent quarters, the seasonally adjusted growth in the labour force of 0.6 percent this quarter has not been as strong as the growth in employment or in total actual hours worked, causing a further tightening of the labour market.

The growth in employment in the June 2004 quarter is consistent with recent trends of strong growth, and was driven by a strong increase in seasonally adjusted male employment of 1.8 percent. There was growth in seasonally adjusted full-time as well as part-time employment this quarter, although, as in recent quarters, full-time growth was stronger than part-time growth. Seasonally adjusted unemployment fell this quarter, driven largely by a fall in the number of females unemployed. The strong growth in employment, combined with the drop in unemployment, has caused the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to fall to 4.0 percent. In the trend series, the unemployment rate has gradually fallen from 5.0 percent in December 2002 to 4.0 percent this quarter, following 13 quarters during which the unemployment rate steadily fell from 7.0 percent to 5.2 percent.

There was a strong increase in the seasonally adjusted number of females not in the labour force this quarter which was offset by a strong decrease in males not in the labour force. This resulted in no change at the aggregate level.

Over the year to June 2004, unadjusted unemployment rates have fallen for all ethnic groups except the Pacific peoples group, which has remained essentially flat. The unadjusted unemployment rates in the June 2004 quarter stood at 8.8 percent for Mäori, 7.4 percent for Pacific peoples, 5.8 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group, and 3.0 percent for the European/Päkehä ethnic group.

Brian Pink Government Statistician

ENDS

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