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Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.4 Percent

Household Labour Force Survey: September 2005 quarter

Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.4 Percent

The seasonally adjusted Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) results for the September 2005 quarter show continuing strength in the labour market, Statistics New Zealand said today. The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 of a percentage point, to 3.4 percent, while the number of people employed increased 1.3 percent this quarter. Actual hours worked also increased 1.3 percent, in line with employment growth, while the labour force participation rate increased to 68.2 percent.

Employment growth in the September 2005 quarter was driven by growth in full-time employment.

Employment increased for both males and females, with males showing stronger growth than females, in contrast to the June 2005 quarter. Growth in total actual hours worked per week was consistent with the movement in employment, increasing 1.3 percent over the quarter.

The working-age population increased by 7,600 (0.2 percent) this quarter, a lower rate of growth than in previous quarters. Annual growth has been slowing since September 2003. The total labour force grew 21,000 (1.0 percent) over the quarter, while the number not in the labour force fell by 11,000 (1.1 percent).

This has resulted in an increase in the labour force participation rate of 0.4 of a percentage point to 68.2 percent.

In summary, the labour market remains tight in the September 2005 quarter, with slowing working-age population growth and stronger growth in employment than in the total labour force. The unemployment rate is now the lowest recorded, and the labour force participation rate is the highest recorded, since the survey began in March 1986.

Unadjusted unemployment rates in the September 2005 quarter stood at 9.1 percent for Mäori, 5.0 percent for Pacific peoples, 4.9 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group, and 2.2 percent for the European/Päkehä ethnic group.

Geoff Bascand
Acting Government Statistician

ENDS

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