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Household Labour Force Survey: June 2011 quarter
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  04 August 2011
Commentary

Labour market overview – seasonally adjusted

The labour market remained relatively steady over the June 2011 quarter. Employment increased by 1,000, while unemployment and the unemployment rate remained unchanged for the quarter. Although there was little change to the total levels of employment and unemployment over the quarter, there were different outcomes for males and females.

Although the quarterly change in employment was small, there was a large annual increase in employment (43,000). This was driven by increases in both full-time and part-time employment  (up 26,000 and 17,000, respectively).

The unemployment rate remained at 6.5 percent for the June 2011 quarter. While there was no change in the total unemployment rate, the male and female unemployment rates moved closer together. The male unemployment rate increased to 6.4 percent from 6.2 percent, while the female unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent.

There was a large rise in actual hours worked for the June 2011 quarter, up 1.6 percent. Usual hours worked increased by 0.6 percent. 

In annual unadjusted terms, key labour market outcomes for the June 2011 year were different in the Canterbury region compared with movements in the national estimates. Employment fell in Canterbury but rose nationally. Unemployment increased in Canterbury but decreased nationally. 

 Diagram, the labour market June 2011 quarter, seasonally adjusted figures, quarterly change.

Employment – seasonally adjusted

Employment rose slightly in the June 2011 quarter, up 1,000 to 2,214,000. There were small quarterly changes in the number of women and men employed. Employment for women increased by 3,000 (0.3 percent) while for men it decreased by 2,000 (0.2 percent).

In the June 2011 quarter, there was a small rise in full-time employment of 0.2 percent, and a small decrease in part-time employment of 0.1 percent. Male full-time employment increased while female full-time employment decreased. Male part-time employment decreased while female part-time employment increased.

For the June 2011 year, employment rose 43,000 (2.0 percent). This is the largest annual percentage increase in employment since December 2007. Annually, male employment increased by 21,000 (1.8 percent) and female employment increased by 22,000 (2.2 percent). Full-time employment increased by 26,000 over the year, while part-time employment grew by 17,000.

 Graph, Full-time employment, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, June 2007 to June 2011. Graph, Part-time employment, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, June 2007 to June 2011.  

 

Trend series

The trend series adjusts for seasonal effects and removes the irregular component from a series. This can help reveal the underlying movement in employment. Refer to the Technical notes of this release for more information about trend series.

During the June 2011 quarter, employment increased by 11,000 (0.5 percent) to 2,218,000. Female employment increased by more than male employment (up 8,000 and 4,000, respectively).

For the June 2011 year, employment increased by 40,000 (1.9 percent). The series has been on an upward trend since September 2009.

Unadjusted annual series

For the June 2011 year, the number of people employed increased by 42,700 (2.0 percent). This is the largest annual percentage increase since December 2007. Both men and women contributed to this employment growth. Male employment increased by 21,100 (1.8 percent) and female employment increased by 21,700 (2.1 percent).

Most employment growth in the June 2011 year occurred in the Auckland region. In total, employment in Auckland increased by 34,600 (5.4 percent). This was evenly spread among men and women; male employment increased by 17,200 (5.0 percent) and female employment increased by 17,400 (5.8 percent).

The 20–24-year-old and the 65+ age groups drove the annual increase in employment with increases in employment of 17,600 and 13,900, respectively. These two age groups have experienced annual increases in employment for a number of quarters. The 65+ age group has had particularly strong growth, with employment increasing on an annual basis in each quarter since the March 2010 quarter.

Although overall annual employment growth was strong for the June 2011 year, there was a decrease in employment for 15–19-year-olds of 12,100 (10.5 percent). The last time there was an annual increase in employment for this group was December 2007.

There continues to be strong annual growth in self-employment. For the year to June 2011, self-employment increased by 22,600 (10.1 percent). Annual changes in self-employment have been positive since June 2010.

By industry, for the June 2011 year employment in construction decreased by 12,700 (6.9 percent). The number of females employed in education and training increased by 11,000 (7.7 percent).

Unemployment – seasonally adjusted

The number of people unemployed was unchanged at 154,000 in the June 2011 quarter. A decrease of 3,000 (4.3 percent) in female unemployment cancelled out a rise of 3,000 (4.0 percent) in male unemployment.

The unemployment rate remained at 6.5 percent for the June 2011 quarter. The male unemployment rate increased to 6.4 percent from 6.2 percent. The female unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent.

There was an annual decrease of 6,000 (3.7 percent) in the number of people unemployed. This is the largest annual percentage decrease since December 2007. The annual decrease was solely driven by a decrease in male unemployment. Female unemployment remained unchanged over the June 2011 year.

 Graph, Unemployment rate by sex, seasonally adjusted, quarterly, June 2007 to June 2011. Graph, Unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted and trend, quarterly, June 2007 to June 2011.

 

Trend series

The trend series shows little change in the number of unemployed for the June 2011 quarter, down 2,000 (1.0 percent). Unemployment in the trend series has flattened out since the December 2009 quarter. The unemployment rate is down 0.1 percentage points to 6.5 percent. 

Unadjusted annual series

Unemployment for 25–29 and 50–54-year-olds decreased over the June 2011 year by 6,400 and 2,500 respectively, while for 40–44-year-olds unemployment increased by 4,400.

The Auckland region experienced a large decline in unemployment over the June 2011 year. The number of unemployed fell by 7,800 (12.7 percent), and the unemployment rate decreased by 1.4 percentage points, from 8.7 percent to 7.3 percent. In the Canterbury region, unemployment for women rose sharply by 5,000.

Canterbury – unadjusted annual movements

We have included supplementary tables with detailed data for the Canterbury region in this release. These are similar to tables 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 14 from the main tables. Data in the tables for the Canterbury region are all unadjusted. A brief overview of the Canterbury labour market is provided below.

For the June 2011 year, the annual movements for key labour market outcomes in the Canterbury region were in different directions from the movements in the national estimates.

The annual decrease in actual hours worked of 1.3 percent was consistent with movements in the Canterbury labour market.

Employment decreased by 5,200 for males and 7,100 for females for the year to June 2011. There was a large rise in female unemployment (from 6,600 to 11,700). Male unemployment decreased from 10,200 to 8,100. The unemployment rate in the Canterbury region is still lower than the national rate.

Unadjusted annual changes for the June 2011 quarter

 
 
 Canterbury National
 Annual change Annual change
Unemployment rate  +0.9 -0.3
Unemployed  +17.8% -3.5%
Employed -3.6% +2.0%
Not in the labour force  +3.6% +0.2%
Labour force participation -1.4 +0.3
Actual hours -1.3% +1.8%

 

Over the June 2011 year there were notable falls in employment for the following industries in Canterbury:

  • Retail trade and accommodation fell 15.8 percent.
  • Professional, scientific, technical services, administrative, and support services fell 10.7 percent.
  • Manufacturing; and electricity, gas, water, and waste services fell 8.6 percent.

In the June 2011 quarter, a small number of households in certain geographic areas in Christchurch were excluded from interviewing because of the ongoing impact of the 22 February 2011 earthquake on residents. The number of households excluded in these areas accounted for 6 percent of the Canterbury sample. The effect of excluding these households was investigated and analysis showed that the working-age population for Canterbury is likely to be overestimated if a large percentage of these households were vacant, derelict, or demolished. Additionally, the Canterbury response rate would be underestimated.

Some of the Household Labour Force Survey sample is located in Christchurch areas classified as the 'red zone' by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. The sample in these areas will continue to be monitored, and no methodological change will be required in the short term.

Working-age population – unadjusted

The working-age population grew by 3,500 (0.1 percent) during the June 2011 quarter, and by 39,800 (1.2 percent) during the year to reach 3,461,100. However, the number of people who left New Zealand permanently during the quarter was more than the number who arrived. (See International Travel and Migration: June 2011 for more information).

Labour force participation rate – seasonally adjusted

The labour force participation rate is the total labour force (ie the number of employed and unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the working-age population.

There was a small change in the labour force for the June 2011 quarter – it increased by 1,000 to 2,368,000. The male labour force increased to 1,255,000, while the female labour force remained unchanged at 1,113,000.

The labour force participation rate for the June 2011 quarter fell 0.2 percentage points from 68.6 percent to 68.4 percent. The participation rates for both males and females fell. Male participation dropped from 74.8 percent to 74.4 percent, and female participation fell from 62.8 percent to 62.6 percent.

 Graph, Labour force participation rate, quarterly, June 2007 to June 2011.

Total hours worked – seasonally adjusted

Actual hours worked are the number of hours a person worked in the reference week (including overtime). Usual hours worked are the number of hours a person normally works in a week.

The number of actual hours worked for the June 2011 quarter increased by 1.6 percent to 74,217,000. This is the highest quarterly percentage increase since June 2008. For the year ending June 2011 actual hours worked increased 1.8 percent.

There was an increase in the number of usual hours worked for both the June 2011 quarter and the June 2011 year. For the quarter the number of usual hours worked increased by 0.6 percent, and for the year there was an increase of 1.5 percent.

 Graph, Total hours worked each week, quarterly, June 1996 to June 2011.

Jobless – unadjusted

The jobless are defined as those people who are either officially unemployed, available but not seeking work, or actively seeking but not available for work.

In the year to June 2011, there was a decrease of 4,700 (1.8 percent) in the number of jobless. This decrease was solely driven by a fall in the number of men who were jobless.

Underemployment – unadjusted

The number of underemployed people (employed people who work part-time and would prefer to work more hours) may serve as a measure of under-utilised labour in the economy.

Over the June 2011 year the number of underemployed increased by 9,100 (8.9 percent). Male underemployment increased by 5,800 (16.2 percent) and female underemployment increased by 3,400 (5.0 percent).

Duration of unemployment – unadjusted

In the year to June 2011, short-term unemployment (those unemployed for 26 weeks or less) decreased by 3,900 (3.7 percent) to 101,100. During the same period, the number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks) marginally increased by 400 (1.1 percent) to 38,000. Of the total number of unemployed people in the June 2011 quarter, 67.4 percent had been so for 26 weeks or less, while 25.4 percent had been unemployed for longer than 26 weeks.

 

Duration of unemployment (unadjusted)
June 2010 quarter
(000)
June 2011 quarter
(000)
Short-term unemployment
26 weeks or less 105.0 101.1
Long-term employment
Over 26 weeks, but not over a year 24.4 24.1
Over one year, but not over two years 9.1 10.7
Over two years 4.1 3.3
Total long-term unemployment 37.6 38.0
Not specified 12.8 10.8
Total unemployment 155.3 149.9

 

Participation in formal study – unadjusted

During the June 2011 quarter, 318,400 people were participating in formal study, a 1.2 percent decline from the same quarter in 2010.

Since the beginning of the series in June 2004, the individuals most likely to be involved in formal study have been the unemployed. This pattern continued in the June 2011 quarter, with 12.3 percent of unemployed people taking part in formal study. Of those not in the labour force, 11.8 percent participated in formal study. Only 7.7 percent of employed people were engaged in formal study.

Ethnic group statistics – unadjusted

In the year to June 2011, unemployment rates fell significantly for the 'Māori only' and 'Asian only' ethnic groups, down 2.7 and 4.4 percentage points, respectively. The unemployment rate for the 'Middle Eastern/Latin American/African only' ethnic group increased by 3.1 percentage points.

Single/combination unemployment rate (unadjusted) by ethnic group
June 2010 quarter
(percent)
June 2011 quarter
(percent)
European only 4.4 4.7
Māori only 16.4 13.7
Pacific peoples only 14.1 13.1
Asian only 10.5 6.1
MELAA only 9.0 12.1
Other ethnicity only 3.3 4.7
European/Māori 10.2 11.1
Two or more groups not elsewhere included 16.8 16.8
Note: MELAA= Middle Eastern/Latin American/African

The unemployment rate for all people who identified with the Māori ethnic group (including those who identified with other groups as well) was 12.6 percent for the June 2011 quarter. This is known as the total response Māori unemployment rate. This is a 1.7 percentage point fall since the June 2010 quarter.

Longer time series

The following graphs show the Household Labour Force Survey series for the number of employed, the labour force participation rate and the unemployment rate over a 15-year period. A complete time series from March 1986 onwards is available on request.

 Graph, Employment, quarterly, June 1996 to June 2011.

 Graph, Labour force participation rate, quarterly, June 1996 to June 2011.

 Graph, Unemployment rate, quarterly, June 1996 to June 2011.

For technical information contact:

Nathan Young or Mallika Kelkar
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Next release…

Household Labour Force Survey: September 2011 quarter will be released on 
3 November 2011.

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