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Unemployment up; employment, participation high

Embargoed until 10:45am – 6 November 2008

Unemployment rate increases, but employment and participation remain at high levels

In seasonally adjusted terms, the labour market showed signs of weakening over the September 2008 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today. After falling throughout 2007, the unemployment rate has increased over the first three quarters of 2008. The September 2008 quarter also saw modest employment growth and high labour force participation. This combination of increased labour force participation and weaker employment growth, contributed to a lift in the unemployment rate this quarter to 4.2 percent.

Over the September 2008 quarter, the unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 4.2 percent, the highest rate since the December 2003 quarter. In September 2008, there were 94,000 people unemployed, 16,000 more than there had been a year earlier. The male unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 4.2 percent, while the female unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 4.1 percent.

The number of people employed increased by 3,000 (0.1 percent) over the September 2008 quarter. Male employment fell by 5,000 (0.4 percent) and female employment rose by 8,000 (0.8 percent). This follows a number of large changes in female employment in recent quarters.

Over the September 2008 quarter, the labour force participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage points to a record-equalling high of 68.7 percent. The female labour force participation rate rose 0.4 percentage points to 62.6 percent, while the male labour force participation rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 75.0 percent.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
6 November 2008


See also the Hot Off The Press information release Household Labour Force Survey: September 2008 quarter [PDF].


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