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National Labour Force Projections: 2015(base)–2068
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  17 December 2015
Key facts

National labour force projections give an indication of the future supply of people available for work.

The projections indicate:

  • New Zealand's labour force will continue to grow, but the growth rate will slow.
  • The labour force (2.5 million in 2015) will increase to 2.7–3.2 million in 2038 and 2.7–3.8 million in 2068.
  • The labour force will age, reflected in a rising median age and an increasing proportion of the labour force in the older ages.
  • The labour force aged 65+ (160,000 in 2015) will increase to 250,000–400,000 in 2038 and 260,000–550,000 in 2068.
  • The proportion of the labour force that is aged 65+ (6 percent in 2015) will increase to 9–13 percent in 2038 and 9–16 percent in 2068.
  • The proportion of the 65+ population in the labour force (22 percent in 2015) is likely to increase slightly. The indicative range is 19–31 percent in 2038 and 16–33 percent in 2068.
  • Even with further increases in labour force participation, especially as assumed at ages 55+, the overall participation rate (68 percent in 2015) is likely to fall. The indicative range is 59–69 percent in 2038 and 54–69 percent in 2068.
  • The ratio of those not in the labour force to those who are (84 per 100 in 2015) is likely to increase in the long term. The indicative range is 73–104 per 100 in 2038 and 69–121 per 100 in 2068.
  • The average number of hours that people in the labour force are working (or available for work) is projected to remain around 37 per week. The indicative range is 33–40 hours per week in 2038 and 31–42 hours per week in 2068.

Graph, New Zealand labour force, 1988–2068.                       Graph, age distribution of labour force, 1988–2068.

Liz MacPherson, Government Statistician
ISSN 1178-0606
17 December 2015
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