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Unemployment Rate at 5.1 Percent

There has been continued growth in overall labour supply, reflecting ongoing labour demand and net gains in permanent and long-term migration, according to Statistics New Zealand's June 2002 quarter Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). The working age population grew by 51,200 (1.8 percent) since the June 2001 quarter, an increase that can be partly attributed to a net gain in permanent and long-term migration of 26,000 over the year. Over the quarter there were higher numbers of people recorded as employed, while the number of people recorded as unemployed decreased. As a result, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent.

Seasonally adjusted figures show that in the June 2002 quarter those not in the labour force increased by 10,000 (1.0 percent). While the number employed increased by 11,000 (0.6 percent), the number unemployed dropped by 3,000 (2.9 percent) which led the labour force participation rate to decrease slightly to 66.7 percent. The unemployment rate also decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 percent. This is the lowest recorded unemployment rate since the March 1988 quarter when it stood at 4.8 percent. Employment growth was evident in full-time employment, which increased by 14,000 (1.0 percent) over the quarter. Over the same period, part-time employment decreased by 5,000 (1.2 percent).

Over the year, the unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage points while the labour force participation rate increased by 0.8 percentage points. The seasonally adjusted figures show unemployment remained steady, while those not in the labour force decreased by 5,000 (0.5 percent) and persons employed grew by 57,000 (3.1 percent). The levels of full-time and part-time employment were up by 41,000 (2.9 percent) and 16,000 (3.9 percent) respectively.

All ethnic group unemployment rates, apart from Pacific peoples, have declined over the year. The unadjusted unemployment rates in the June 2002 quarter stood at 11.0 percent for Mäori, 9.7 percent for Pacific peoples, 8.5 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group and 3.7 percent for European/Päkehä.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician END

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