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Labour force participation reaches record high

More people seek work as labour force participation reaches record high – Media release

4 February 2015

The unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent in the December 2014 quarter, while the labour force participation rate reached a record 69.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“Employment didn’t keep up with the record number of people entering the labour force, so even though employment growth was also strong over the quarter, the unemployment rate increased," labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

Annually, the number of people employed rose 3.5 percent in the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS). While Auckland and Canterbury remain key contributors to national employment growth, employment growth in Canterbury eased in the year to the December 2014 quarter compared with previous quarters.

In the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), the number of filled jobs reported by businesses rose 2.5 percent.

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index (LCI), increased 1.8 percent, compared with annual consumer price inflation of 0.8 percent. Average hourly earnings (QES) rose 2.6 percent over the year.

December 2014 quarterQuarterly changeAnnual change
(000)Percent
Employed2,375 +1.2 +3.5
Unemployed 143+5.8 -2.6
Filled jobs1,800 +0.1 +2.5
PercentPercentage points
Employment rate65.7+0.4+1.0
Unemployment rate 5.7 +0.3 -0.3
Labour force participation rate69.7 +0.7+0.9
LevelPercent
Average ordinary time hourly earnings$28.77+0.5 +2.6
Wage inflation (salary and wage rates, including overtime)1102+0.5 +1.8

Our labour market indicators include the HLFS, QES, and LCI. The HLFS is a broad measure of labour market activity by individuals, while the QES measures demand by established firms for paid work and hourly earnings. The LCI is a measure of wage inflation. Results from all three surveys are based on representative samples from across New Zealand.

Explaining labour market statistics has more information on these indicators.

Ends

LabourMarketStatisticsDec14qtr.pdf
hlfsdec14qtrtables.xls
lciswrDec14qtrtables.xls
qesDec14qtrtables.xls

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