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Work

People aged 15 years and over are defined as employed if they worked for one hour or more for pay or profit, or without pay in a family farm, business, or professional practice, or if they had a job but were not at work for some reason.

The unemployment rate is the number of people aged 15 years and over who did not have a paid job, were available for work, and were actively seeking work, expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

People aged 15 years and over are defined as not in the labour force if they were not employed and were not actively seeking work. This includes students, people caring for children or other family members, retired people, and people who were unable to work for some reason such as illness or disability.

Over 2 million adults are employed

  • There were 2,001,006 employed adults (people aged 15 years and over) in 2013. Those who were employed made up 62.3 percent of adults, down from 65.0 percent in 2006.
  • Unemployment increased since 2006, but was slightly lower than in 2001. The unemployment rates for the last three censuses were:
    • 2013 – 7.1 percent
    • 2006 – 5.1 percent
    • 2001 – 7.5 percent.
  • Unemployment was higher for the 15–24 year age group than for the labour force overall. In 2013, the unemployment rate for this age group was 18.4 percent.

Over a million adults are not in the labour force

  • Over a million adults (people aged 15 years and over) were not in the labour force in 2013 – up 10.0 percent since 2006. Almost 1 in 3 people (32.9 percent) aged 15 and over were not in the labour force.
  • Women made up 60.0 percent of those not in the labour force.

Rise in employment for people aged 65 years and over

  • The percentage of people aged 65 years and over who were employed nearly doubled since 2001. In 2013, 22.1 percent of those aged 65 years and over were employed compared with 11.4 percent in 2001.
Labour force status
By age group, for people aged 15 years and over
2001, 2006, and 2013 Censuses
Labour force status by age group (years)
2001 Census 2006 Census 2013 Census
 Number
Employed
     15–24
     25-–64
     65+
     Total

271,038
1,406,298
49,932
1,727,268

316,455
1,587,951
81,369
1,985,775

271,077
1,600,416
129,513
2,001,006
Unemployed
     15–24
     25–64
     65+
     Total

56,406
82,689
813
139,908

48,399
56,922
1,176
106,497

61,302
89,640
2,268
153,210
Not in the labour force
     15–24
     25–64
     65+
     Total

163,275
383,490
387,144
933,909

184,338
376,866
400,584
961,785

219,513
384,669
453,915
1,058,100
 Percent(1)
Unemployment rate
     15–24
     25–64
     65+
     Total
17.2
5.6
1.6
7.5
13.3
3.5
1.4
5.1
18.4
5.3
1.7
7.1
1. The unemployment rate gives the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

More people now employed in professional occupations

  • The most common occupational group for employed people aged 15 and over was professionals. In 2013, there were 426,699 professionals, making up 22.5 percent of employed people. This was also the occupational group that showed the largest increase since 2006, gaining 52,371 people (up 14.0 percent). Women were more likely to be professionals than men, making up 57.0 percent of this occupational group.
  • The next most common occupational group was managers, which showed a slight increase. Men were more likely to be managers than women. In 2013, 63.0 percent of managers were men.
  • The only other occupational group to increase was community and personal service workers. This group made up 9.0 percent of employed people in 2013, compared with 8.4 percent in 2006. Approximately two-thirds of community and personal service workers were women.
  • All other occupational groups had a decrease in the percentage of people employed in them since 2006.

Graph, Major occupational groups for employed people aged 15 years and over, 2006 and 2013 Censuses.

Health care and social assistance now the most common industry

  • The health care and social assistance industry expanded 19.6 percent since 2006 and replaced manufacturing as the most common industry. In 2013, 1 in 10 employed people (191,694 people) worked in the health care and social assistance industry, which includes hospitals and medical care, residential care services, child care, and other social services.
  • Other industries to experience growth included professional, scientific, and technical services, with an 8.8 percent increase since 2006, and education and training, with a 13.0 percent increase.
  • Retail trade remained the second most common industry, employing 188,631 people (9.8 percent of employed people) in 2013, but declined since 2006.
  • Manufacturing showed the largest decline, with 29,472 fewer people employed in this industry in 2013 than in 2006. This was a 13.5 percent decrease.

Graph, Major industry groups for employed people aged 15 years and over, 2006 and 2013 Censuses.

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