The State of the New Zealand Labour Market


  • David Paterson Labour Market and Business Performance, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment



Labour market, global financial crisis, construction, unemployment rate


This paper will review recent developments in the New Zealand labour market and trace the passage of these indicators through the global financial crisis to the outlook for the coming 3 years. The paper is based on the Ministry’s Quarterly Labour Market report and Short-term Employment Forecasts. The paper describes a strong labour market. Indicators of labour demand growth have moderated from the elevated levels recorded earlier in 2014, but remain solid. Construction is a significant source of employment demand across the entire country, and not just Canterbury. Migration-led population growth and near-record labour force participation rates are expanding labour supply. Women in general are showing increased involvement in the labour market: the female labour force participation rate returned to its record high of 63.7 per cent (equal to that recorded in March 2014), and the female employment rate (59.7 per cent) is at its highest rate since December 2008. Single mothers in particular have seen a sharp increase in their employment rate, which has reached its highest level since the series began in 1986. High participation is likely slowing the fall in the unemployment rate, which nevertheless hit its lowest level since March 2009. Wage growth remains subdued over the September quarter, but this comes against the backdrop of low inflation.


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