Labour force participation
The labour force consists of adults (aged 15 years and over) employed or unemployed and actively seeking employment.
- Just over two-thirds (67 percent) of Niuean adults were participating in the labour force at the time of the 2001 Census – a similar level to 1996 (65 percent). Labour force participation rates among the Pacific (65 percent) and the New Zealand population (67 percent) were similar to those of the Niuean population.
- The New Zealand-born Niuean population had a higher rate of labour force participation (70 percent) than overseas-born Niueans (65 percent) in 2001.
- Niuean men were more likely to participate in the labour force than Niuean women in 2001 (74 percent and 61 percent respectively) – a pattern repeated across all age groups except for those aged 15–19 years, where 45 percent of women and 42 percent of men were involved in the labour force.
- Labour force participation among the Niuean population was lower than that of the New Zealand population across all age groups, as figure 6.1 shows. The gap in the respective labour force participation rates widens after 45 years, before converging again among those aged 65 years and over.
The employment rate is the proportion of the adult population (aged 15 years and over) who are employed in either fulltime or part-time paid work.
- At the time of the 2001 Census, 57 percent of the Niuean adult population were employed – continuing the upward trend from 54 percent in 1996 and 45 percent in 1991. In 2001, a similar proportion of the total Pacific population was employed (55 percent), while the employment rate for the total New Zealand population was 62 percent.
- The employment rate among the Niuean population rose from being equivalent to 83 percent of the total New Zealand employment rate in 1991 to 92 percent in 2001, as can be seen in figure 6.2.
- In 2001, the New Zealand-born and overseas-born Niuean population had similar employment rates (58 percent and 57 percent respectively).
- Niuean men (64 percent) had a higher employment rate than Niuean women (51 percent) – a consistent pattern across all age groups in 2001.
- In 2001, employment among Niuean people were highest among those aged 40–44 years (76 percent) and 45–49 years (75 percent).
The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force who are unemployed, available for work and actively seeking employment.
- Approximately 1,200 Niuean adults, or 15 percent of the Niuean labour force, were unemployed at the time of the 2001 Census. The unemployment rate for the total Pacific population was marginally higher at 16 percent – more than double that for the total New Zealand population in 2001 (7 percent).
- The Niuean unemployment rate at the 2001 Census was one percentage point lower than at the 1996 Census (16 percent) and much lower than at the beginning of the decade (21 percent in 1991).
- The New Zealand-born Niuean population had a higher unemployment rate (18 percent) than their overseas-born counterparts (12 percent) in 2001 – with the younger age profile of the New Zealand-born Niuean population a possible contributing factor.
- Niuean women had a higher rate of unemployment (17 percent) than Niuean men (14 percent) in 2001.
- The unemployment rate among the Niuean population is higher than the total New Zealand population at all ages, as figure 6.3 illustrates. The disparities tend to be greatest among the 15–19 age group and among those aged 55 years and over.
- In 2001, the most common occupations for employed Niuean adults were plant and machine operators and assemblers (18 percent), clerks, and service and sales workers (both 17 percent).
- In the decade to 2001, Niuean people were increasingly employed in 'white-collar' occupations. The proportion of Niuean adults employed as service and sales workers increased by 5 percentage points between 1991 and 2001 to 17 percent. Niuean adults employed as technicians and associate professionals rose 4 percentage points to 9 percent, while those employed as clerks also increased by 4 percentage points to 17 percent in 2001. Conversely, the proportion of Niuean adults employed in 'blue-collar' occupation categories, such as trades workers, plant and machine operators and assemblers declined between 1991 and 2001, as figure 6.4 illustrates.
- New Zealand-born Niueans are more likely than their overseas-born counterparts to be employed in white collar occupations, such as legislators, administrators and managers (7 percent compared with 4 percent) and technicians and associate professionals (12 percent and 7 percent).
- Niueans born overseas are more likely than their New Zealand-born counterparts to be employed as plant and machine operators and assemblers (24 percent compared with 13 percent) and in elementary occupations (16 percent and 13 percent).
- There are considerable occupational differences between the sexes, as shown in figure 6.5. In 2001, Niuean women were more likely than men to be employed in white collar categories – professionals, technicians and associate professionals, service and sales workers and clerks. Conversely, Niuean men were more likely to be employed as trades workers and as plant and machine operators and assemblers.
- As increasing numbers of the Niuean population gain formal qualifications, young Niuean people are becoming less likely to be employed in 'blue-collar' jobs and are gradually moving into 'white collar' occupations. In 2001, Niueans aged 25–34 years were more likely than those aged 35–44 years to be employed as technicians and associate professionals and as clerks and less likely to be employed as plant and machine operators and assemblers or in elementary occupations.
- Just under a quarter (24 percent) of employed Niuean adults worked in manufacturing in 2001. As figure 6.6 shows, retail trade, and property and business were the next most common industries – employing 11 percent and 10 percent of Niuean adults respectively.
- New Zealand-born Niueans are more likely than those born overseas to work in certain industries, such as in retail trade (14 percent compared with 9 percent). Niueans born overseas are more likely than their New Zealand-born counterparts to work in the manufacturing industry (31 percent compared with 18 percent) and health and community services (10 percent compared with 7 percent).
Two percent of employed Niuean adults were employers in 2001, while 5 percent were self-employed without employees – the same proportions as the total employed Pacific population in 2001. By comparison, employers and
the self-employed made up 8 percent and 13 percent respectively of the employed New Zealand population.