A New Province for Law and Order

Deregulation and Employment in New Zealand

Greg Cutbush

1. Introduction

The topic I was given for this paper is clearly very broad. Taking advantage of the available degrees of freedom, I have interpreted my duty as:

  • first to briefly explain the current employment picture in New Zealand---note that yesterday (Friday 13 Nov. 1992) new quarterly employment data were released. Tomorrow will be 18 months to the day that New Zealand's Employment Contracts Act 1991 commenced operation; and
  • second to tell you something about the progress we have made and the difficulties we have encountered determining the impact of the statutory minimum wage in New Zealand. (This exercise has been commissioned by the NZ Business Roundtable and I am being assisted---or should I say guided---by Jim Cox, an economist currently working as a consultant with the New South Wales Government who is perhaps best known as a specialist in the economics of social security and poverty relief.)
The main findings reported in this paper are:

  • on trends in employment since May 15 1991, that:
    • while some official statistics (employment, unemployment) appear to have stabilised over the last quarter, the figures are mostly more depressed than when the Employment Contracts Act was introduced 18 months ago; and
    • the number of people not in the workforce has risen. However the number of people not seeking work because they think they could not obtain work has fallen over the lastyear; and
  • on minimum wage effects, that:
    • the NZ data do not reveal any striking impact of minimum wage legislation on employment levels, even in subcategories (Maoris, females, etc) theorised to be the most likely victims; and
    • like recent overseas researchers, our efforts are now concentrating on the impact of minimum wages on fringe benefits and other employment conditions.

These findings will be placed in context below.


2. Changes in the Rules

Environment

What deregulation of labour has there been?

The Employment Contracts Act (ECA) was just one change of several in recent times:

  • the Labour Party Government had already raised the eligibility age for unemployment benefits from 16 to 18 years. At about the same time as the ECA, further restrictions on eligibility for welfare benefits were introduced (and there has even been talk of time-limiting the benefits for unemployment1).
  • increasing numbers of job subsidy schemes (including one linked to planting trees) have been implemented. Indeed, as Table 1 below reveals, as a proportion of GDP, New Zealand spends more on job subsidies than most OECD countries, though not as much as Sweden of course! (While they probably do reflect an under- standing that unemployment stems from overpriced labour, job subsidies do not always qualify as deregulatory measures.)

Furthermore:

  • work conditions in ports and railways were substantially liberalised in the couple of years before the passing of the ECA;
  • Telecom reform---which has seen former employees becoming private linesmen, for example---must also be counted as a significant labour market liberalisation of the time;
  • and do not forget that in 1987, through the Labour Relations Act, the State had retired as the award policeman.

Thus there were a few years of significant labour reforms in New Zealand up to 15 May 1991.

In a well known paper, presented in July this year2 Alan Jones identified four "pillars of protection" associated with the industrial relations system prior to the reforms: compulsory unionism; monopoly coverage of work (and so workers); blanket coverage; and compulsory arbitration. It is the removal of all four of these pillars in the ECA which was the real achievement.

For balance I will mention that there have been other (albeit rare) periods of liberalisation of labour rules in New Zealand. In 1932, for example, as the Great Depression worsened, compulsory arbitration was abandoned after nearly 40 years in operation. (It was, however, reintroduced four years later.)


Table 1: Expenditure on Active Labour Market Programmes as Percentage of GDP

(Various OECD countries, 1990/91)

Australia 0.25 Luxembourg 0.37
Austria 0.3 New Zealand 0.83
Canada 0.52 Norway 0.99
Finland 0.94 Portugal 0.52
Germany 1.02 Sweden 1.58
Greece 0.42 Switzerland 0.17
Ireland 1.47 Great Britain 0.59
Japan 0.13 United States 0.25
Source: OECD Employment Outlook 1991


3. Labour Data - Sources

3.1 The NZ Department of Statistics

The following table summarises the main NZ Department of Statistics data on labour in New Zealand (Table 2).

The Household Employment and Income Survey is acknowledged to be the most useful source of information.

3.2 Department of Labour

The Department of Labour has some additional information of interest. For example, it has surveyed contracts registered (ie those 20 employees). The first survey, after the ECA was passed, looked at 190 contracts.

Each survey, apparently, shows much the same story, ie.:

  • small increase in wages on average
  • unions involved in about the cases
  • flexibility of non wage conditions is a feature

However the proportion of contracts covered by the surveys is less than ten per cent.

3.3 Miscellaneous and secondary studies

There are, of course, several additional ad hoc sources of information on the operation of the NZ labour market in recent years. One example has been Harbridge and Moulder's survey of 471 contracts at the end of 1991. They found that 51 percent had enjoyed pay increases. Another is the NZ Employers Federation's survey during 1991 of 1116 employers covering 190,664 employees--- this showed that 34 per cent of workers had stuck to the awards, but that there has been a great increase in the proportion of agreements tailored specially to the enterprise.

The New Zealand Treasury has embarked on two main initiatives. One is the construction of a model to predict several security outlays under different social security and wage regimes. It is called TAXMOD.3 Another is the work on the ECA the NZ Treasury has commissioned---it is an econometric study of the impact of the ECA, though is not expected to be ready until midÄ1993.4

Finally there is anecdotal evidence from industry people---such as that included in Douglas Myers' "Tiger on your tail" HR Nicholls Society address in April 1992 or Alan Jones' "What were we afraid of?" July 1992 paper referred to earlier.


4. Evidence---What does it say?

The short answer to the question of what the data show is that they do not yet show a great deal in the way of evidence that flexibility is creating benefits---at least not at the aggregate level.

Time does not permit a complete survey of the data here. To check the latest facts we are fortunate, however, to have had the release yesterday morning (Friday 13 November) of the September Quarters Household Labour Force Survey results---attesting (as in the case of this Conference being held 18 months to the day from the passing of the ECA) to the impeccable timing of the organisers of this conference.

The official statistical media release for Friday 13 November 1992 is attached (Attachment 1).

The figures presented can be viewed against some hypotheses we would have about the impact of the opportunity for more flexible wages since May 1991.

First look at the graphs on p.2, of Attachment 1, especially the last 2 centimetres of each graph, because this is the period since the ECA was introduced. The seasonally adjusted curves are the broken lines. Note that:

  • the shape of the first two graphs suggests that the shrinkage of employment in New Zealand since early 1987 has now bottomed and that the growth in unemployment has peaked. Both indicators are worse than when the ECA was introduced, however; and
  • by contrast it is difficult to place any positive interpretation on the developments in graph 3 which shows that the participation rate has continued to slide. Indeed the numbers of people not participating in the labour force is shown to be growing at 30-40,000 per year, which is about twice the numerical rise in the number of people in the workforce. This is worrying news since it indicates that the unemployment rate figures are being held steady by a tailing-off of the number seeking work.
  • persons employed, unemployed and not in labour force
The figures in Table A1 of the media release5 show that over the last year or so, there has been a slight drop in the unemployment rate of females. The main reason is that their number in the workforce has been steadily dropping. Indeed female participation is now 3000 less than a year ago. With males, the unemployment rate has worsened a little. These observations qualify the steady total employment picture which emerges from the combination of male and female figures.
  • employment in the regions
Leaving Table A2 aside (since the figures there are the same as Table A1 but not seasonally adjusted), we can see from Table A3 that in Auckland (the centre of manufacturing in New Zealand), though participation is down, employment is up and unemployment is down---the latter by 1 percentage points compared with a year ago. The South Island figures are all better than those for the North. The Nelson area and Otago/Southland record the lowest unemployment rates with favourable movements in unemployment. Compared to a year ago the outcome is a whole percentage point better than a year ago. This picture is consistent with the expectation that, as award rates of pay (which are set in the bigger cities) disappear, activity in outer areas is likely to benefit.
  • employment across industries
Table A4 shows results across industry sectors. The story is very mixed, with employment in agriculture, manufacturing, electricity, gas & water and transport etc all lower than 12 months ago, while activity in building & construction, business & financial services and community, social security & personal services is better than a year ago. (The surge in services is probably a sign of the much-awaited economic consulting boom in New Zealand!)
  • full and part-timers
Table A5 looks at full- and part-time workers. As in other Western countries, New Zealand part-timers are mostly females (three times the number of part-time male employees are females). With regard to movements, in recent times total and female part-timers have decreased while with part-timer men the opposite is the case.
In an environment with newly flexible wages, there are probably just as many grounds for expecting part-timers to rise as to fall. On the one hand, part-time work might be expected to be on the increase as people no longer find it necessary to take part-time work to escape wage minima. On the other hand, the more flexible work conditions may be making it easier for employees to work just the hours they want.

Table A5 thus provides little evidence one way or the other about whether labour deregulation has tended to support employment growth.

  • the jobless
Finally, Table A6 confirms that the official number of unemployed is steady (and indeed is down 10,000 on a year ago). Also it shows that the number of discouraged persons (ie people not seeking active work because they think they cannot obtain it) in the September Quarter of 1992 was the smallest it has been for at least a year---both male and female. These are all positive signs.

I don't know what the papers are saying in New Zealand this morning about these figures. Mostly however the figures are nowhere near as gloomy as some people were predicting them to be. (Some forecasters had been predicting 13% unemployment by mid-1993.)

Caution is required because of the small sample size of the HLFS. The June Quarter's HLFS results were hardly believed when they were released three months ago. These results bring this survey back into line with the other statistics. Nonetheless they are certainly better than the Australian figures, also released yesterday.

One point some commentators have been making about NZ employment data over the last year or so is that they show a quicker response to output growth than previously. The well-known case, apparently, is the quick follow up in the December 1991 Quarter employment figures to the 1% September 1991 Quarter output growth. Whereas NZ Treasury people are quick to point out that New Zealand's quarterly GDP statistics are not very reliable, everybody seems to think that NZ is still growing at nearly 1 per cent per quarter.

The bottom line is that yesterday's figures are "not inconsistent" with the view that greater labour market flexibility is producing results. However you would probably want to see a couple more periods of employment growth before skiting about it.

What other statistics can we add to this information to "fatten up" as it were, the picture of New Zealand's labour market we are painting? We have some further tables here which flesh it out a bit---but there is only time now to look at one chart.

Chart 1 depicts the flows underlying the employment and unemployment figures in the December Quarter 1991. The relative sizes of the rectangles are roughly the same as the numbers of people involved. The fluidity of the labour market is striking. Some people would find the quarterly turnover rates of unemployment and non participation surprisingly large. The high turnovers soften the tragedy of the unemployment figures somewhat.

I do not yet have figures for later quarters, but there is every reason to expect that the broad magnitudes are the same.

How does one assess such data? What does a healthy set of flows between employed/unemployed/non participation look like? It would be interesting to see a long series.

Incidentally, not shown in the chart is an estimated 5,000 person quarterly rate of increase in the numbers of working age---2,500 of whom represent immigration. Many of the latter would be New Zealanders returning from Australia (though of course the traffic both ways between Australia and New Zealand continues at a high level).



5. Minimum Wages

The absence so far of an unambiguously clear link between the major deregulation of 1991 and the employment figures up to the September Quarter of 1992 provides an appropriate backdrop for consideration of progress in our project on minimum wages in New Zealand. The brief for the project is to investigate as quantitatively as possible, the impact of minimum wage legislation in NZ. Could it be that continuation of the statutory minimum wage has thwarted a response to the abolition of the other wage-fixing instruments?

5.1 The risk posed by statutory minima

There is a feeling in informed circles in NZ that statutory minimum wages could defeat the purposes of the ECA, even though the collectively bargained minima known as awards have been abandoned (or are being abandoned).

A different argument has been put forward by people who lament the passing of the award system. In particular, authors with Victoria University connections, such as Peter Brosnan & David Rea6 and Phillipa Bascand & Stephen Frawley7, have been among the first since the ECA to write in New Zealand about minimum rates, saying that with the abolition of the central award structure, there is a need to widen and raise minimum wages and indeed to reinforce all of the traditional "minimum conditions" which remain in NZ law. The minimum conditions include:

(i) holiday time;

(ii) dispute settlement procedures;

(iii) protection against employers extracting deductions from wages; and

(iv) workplace safety.

The ECA itself preserves some of them (esp. (ii)).

The NZ Federation of Employers has been suspicious of the Employment Court (which can be called in to review decisions or agreements) because it seems inclined to take upon itself a defence of minimum conditions. The defence of minimum conditions has threatened to become the next growth area for the legal profession.

Alan Jones, among others, has argued in the newspapers and elsewhere for the Employment Court to be abolished---ordinary courts are quite adequate, he says.

In any case, in New Zealand, the minimum conditions idea seems to have quite a bit of currency.

The minimum wage is one of these and the Department of Labour has this listed in its minimum conditions pamphlets to advise workers.

5.2 Some brief history

As in Australia, early Arbitration Acts in NZ and their associated award structures go back to the 1890s. The awards were what you might call "centrally bargained minima".

The first explicit statutory minimum wage in NZ, that is, a minimum wage set directly by Parliament, seems to have been the Employment of Boys and Girls Without Payment Prevention Act 1899.

(It set minima at:

  • 4/- week for girls
  • 5/- week for boys)

In the recovery period after the Great Depression, a statutory wage floor was introduced to supplement all awards. Using terminology already familiar in Australia at the time, an Industrial Conciliation and Arbitration Amendment Act 1936 established the notion of a "basic wage" when it instructed the New Zealand Arbitration Court:

"...after taking into consideration the economic conditions, to fix a basic wage for male and female workers"

For male workers the Court was directed to:

"...take into consideration what will be adequate to supply the needs of a man, his wife and three children up to a reasonable level of comfort".

There was a great deal of debate about the appropriate foundation for a basic wage.

Note that the basic wage applied only to people covered by awards---and at that stage there were still quite a few employees, such as those in agriculture and forestry, who were not part of the award structure.

In 1945 an explicit Minimum Wage Act was passed. People inside and outside the award structure were covered. It excluded people under 20 years of age, apprentices and (through another Act) the disabled.

In 1952 the Act was amended to allow the minima to be changed by Order-in-Council (instead of Parliament).

The minimum wage was 78 per cent of the average wage in 1948, the highest it has ever been. It was allowed to fall to 40 per cent of the average wage by the start of the 1980s. Then it was raised from 30 to 53 per cent in 1987 by the new (Lange) Labour Government. By 1988 it was higher than the minima specified in 20 per cent of prevailing awards. Since September 1990 it has been kept at $6.125 per hour and in the year ended March 1991, for example, relative to the average wage the minimum had fallen back to 1987 levels. In 1992 it has been lower still, in relative terms.

As regards the relationship of the minimum wage to welfare benefits, records since 1960 show that:

  • it has remained significantly above social security rates for single people except for the two years 1983 and 1984; and
  • it has always been above the unemployment benefit rate.

So notwithstanding recent declines in the real minimum wage, you would still expect it to "bite".

5.3 Postulated effects

What do we mean by the term "bite" in this context?

Minimum wages have been theorised to cause unemployment, especially among the weak or lowest-paid sectors of society. The precise nature of the impact is not usually discussed in much detail in textbooks.

The quantitative literature is extensive, especially in the US around the late 1970s and early 1980s when there was a major government inquiry into the subject.8

Debate in that literature focuses on the right functional form to employ in estimating the effects of minimum wages---there are many complex methodological issues to consider.

The simplest statement of the postulated effect is that the frequency distribution of hourly pay rates becomes truncated at about the point of the minimum. The idea is that some people whose marginal product is just below the minimum are pushed either out of employment (to the left) or up the pay scale while retaining employment (to the right) causing a peak at about the minimum rate. There are quibbles about how much the truncation of the left hand side would occur anyway as the product of social security provisions. But New Zealand data showing a trun-cation and peak can be readily presented as follows.

Charts 2 and 3 below show the similarity of the shapes of the frequency distribution of wage rates every year over the last decade.


5.4 Eyeballing the averages

Now initially in our study of minimum wages in New Zealand we started looking at the effects by considering "covered" versus "uncovered" categories of people. The feeling was that we might pick up from averages significant employment effects of the minimum wage if we looked at the right categories. The type of data I am talking about are presented in the following diagrams (see Chart 4). They show quarterly averages for several labour statistics from June 1987 to June 1992 for 15-19 year olds on the one hand and 20 to 24 year olds on the other hand.

Remember the younger group is not covered by the minimum wage.

My one-sentence summary of the diagrams in Chart 4 is that you cannot pick from them the supposed effect of minimum wages on employment. Indeed, paradoxically, the picture with the uncovered group is more indicative of the standard theorised minimum wage effect (ie higher unemployment rate, lower participation rate) than that with the covered group!

The data in Tables 3 and 4 below indicate that average data for categories of people one might think would especially be minimum wage victims (eg. Maoris) are no more revealing. From the data presented in the tables it can be seen that Maoris are more often unemployed, or outside the workforce altogether, than other New Zealanders. But the phenomenon is not obviously any more intense with 20-24 year olds than with 15-19 year olds as one might have expected in the presence of a minimum wage, even if the generally more lowly-paid females are considered.

The above are data for one year only. We now have received data for earlier years and will look at the series. But we are not counting on "better" results.

Just as nothing impressive can be seen by eyeballing these data on averages, regressions on such data within groups typically show nothing much either. Nobody seems to have had striking "success" with cross sectional or time series approaches.

In the NZ case, one possibility is that junior rates have been prevalent in New Zealand awards and have been carried over into most of the contracts of employment which now prevail. This would mean that 15-19 year olds have been and remain, in practice, part of the covered group, not the uncovered group as we had surmised. We are looking into this.

5.5 Clifford Thies's approach

Notwithstanding the possible confusion over which group is covered and which is not, it seems to us that far more subtle approaches are required and one we are in the midst of trying is an approach pioneered by Meyer and Wise.9 It was refined to a practical dimension in a 1991 article by Clifford Thies.10

In Thies's article, Massachusetts brush industry data for the years around 1912 are presented simply and compellingly to show the impact of a statutory minimum wage. The data are frequency distributions of women's wages. Before minimum wage legislation, the wages of women in the brush industry are distributed almost normally. After the minimum wage legislation, the left hand tail of the distribution is cut off. Supporting evidence from other States in the US is also presented.

Hoping to repeat Thies's success, we have been comparing the wage distributions of potentially affected NZ groups. For example we are trying it with subcategories of people in the 15-19 and 20-24 year age groups such as the Maori and female sub categories that we introduced in Tables 3 and 4 above.

We are hopeful, but not confident.

5.6 Information on other effects

We are also gathering supplementary data on effects such as the hypothesised changes in work conditions.

It is theorised by more modern writers (and Richard McKenzie11 in particular) that most of the effects of minimum wages are not on unemployment levels. An implication is that average employment levels of covered and uncovered groups will not show very much. Another is that we should not expect to see any pronounced change in the shape of wage rate distribution curves, an hypothesised effect which is also mostly about impacts on employment numbers. Very persuasive commentary (and some limited quantitative evidence) from McKenzie and other authors since the early 1980s indicates that work conditions, and especially on-the-job training, are the principal casualties of minimum wage laws. Let me give a couple of examples:

  • Masanori Hashimoto found that following a minimum-wage hike in the US in 1967, workers gained 32 cents in money income but lost 41 cents per hour in training---a net loss of 9 cents an hour in full-income compensation;12
  • again in the US, Walter Wessels found that the minimum wages caused retail establishments in New York to increase work demands. In response to a minimum-wage increase, only 714 of the surveyed stores cut back store hours, but 4827 stores reduced the number of workers and/or their employees' hours worked. Thus in most stores, fewer workers were given fewer hours to do the same work as before;13
  • William Alpert, found in 1983 that for every 1 per cent increase in the minimum wage, restaurants reduce shifts premiums by 3.6 per cent, severance pay by 6.9 per cent, and sick pay by 3.4 per cent.14

Our despair with the conventional regression analysis type approach (and our anxiety about even having success with the more subtle Thies approach) are fuelled by the "poor" results obtained by other researchers, notably in France---where as recently as 1991, a very sophisticated study of the minimum wage found nothing significant in terms of employment volume effects of the minimum wage.15

On the basis of such miserable results, the veteran minimum wage researcher Charles Brown was inclined to conclude in a 1988 review article that the minimum wage is much overrated by its critics, as well as by its supporters.16

However, Brown admitted that he did not look beyond the impact on employment numbers. And it is precisely because he did not look beyond employment numbers that his dismissal of minimum wage effects is not an opinion shared by Richard McKenzie. In 1987 McKenzie complained bitterly about the failure of observers to consider working conditions and fringe benefits, warning that:

"Perhaps the most powerful (but theoretically unsettling) explanation for the political acceptance of wage minimums is that people who support them are simply ignorant of their effects. Economists do not seem to have fully understood the market consequences of the laws. In fact, conventional supply and demand analysis of wage minimums may have misled many politicians into believing that such laws are an effective way of helping one segment of their constituency at the expense of another, smaller segment." 17

5.7 Concluding comments

Ours is still an unfinished task.

There is no guarantee that we will obtain a "positive" finding sufficient to serve as a basis for estimating the social cost of the NZ statutory minimum wage. We need to be prepared to admit, if the data show it, that the legislated minimum wage may be so low that it is redundant. There are some obvious and some not so obvious reasons why this may be so. One of the less obvious types of possible reasons is that in NZ, regardless of which groups the law applies to, ordinary employers may have become used to thinking that wages below a certain level are, somehow, immoral or indecent.

Note that in NZ, as in other Western Countries, all the evidence indicates that low wages and low household income are very poorly correlated.

The "employers-think-low-wages-are-indecent" theory may have some basis. One New Zealand economist told me of a discussion he had recently with a Nissan executive. The executive's company was suffering, with yards full of unsold vehicles, but he was still granting his workers a pay-rise because he felt they could not keep body and soul together without one. This is not a frame of mind which one sees in the United States, for example.

Such findings concerning one of the last remaining NZ wage control instruments would not dissuade me from the general view that wage minima do not improve the lot of poorer people and are, ultimately, the costliest aspects of labour policy.

I am hoping that even if our report must present no more than the logic of the damage minimum wages can cause, it will be persuasive on that score.

I have to finish without mentioning the interesting literature on the political economy of minimum wages. There may be some time for that later on, during the general discussion.


Endnotes:

1. For example, time limits for unemployed benefits, to bring New Zealand into line with other OECD countries were recommended by the New Zealand Business Roundtable in Budgetary Stress: why New Zealand needs to reduce government sp;ending deficits and debt, Wellington, April 1992, 99.28-29.
2. Alan Jones What were we afraid of?, Auckland, July 1992.
3. TAXMOD is an elaborate labour supply model. It contains no explicit demand modelling.
4. We understand that this work is being undertaken by Tim Malone at Auckland University.
5. We refer to the tables in the media release by labelling them with "A"s to distinguish them from the tables in the text.
6. Peter Brosnan and David Rea "An adequate minimum code: a basis for freedom justice and efficiency in the labour market" NZ Industrial Relations, 16(3) Aug 1991 pp.309-315.
7. Phillipa Bascand and Stephen Frawley "Possible consequences of the Employment Contracts Act for people with disabilities" NZ J. Industrial Relations 16(4) Dec 1991 pp.309-315.
8. See Report of the Minimum Wage Study Commission, Washington DC, 1981.
9. Robert H. Meyer and David A. Wise "Discontinuous Distribution and Missing Persons: The Minimum Wage and Unemployed Youth: Econometrica 51(6) November pp. 1677-1699.
10. Clifford Thies "The First Minimum Wage Laws" Cato Journal 10(3) Winter 1991 pp.715-747.
11. See for example Richard McKenzie The Fairness of Markets Lexington Books, Lexington 1987.
12. Masanori Hashimoto, "Minimum Wage Effect on Training on the Job", American Economic Review 70 (December 1982), pp.1070-87.
13. Walter J. Wessels, "Minimum Wages: Are Workers Really Better Off?" (Paper prepared for presentation at a conference on minimum wages, Washington, D.C., National Chamber Foundation, July 29, 1987) - cited by McKenzie (op.cit).
14. William T. Albert "The Effects of the Minimum Wage on the Fringe Benefits of Restaurant Workers", Paper, High University, Bethlehem PA 1983 - cited by McKenzie (op.cit.).
15. Stephen Bazen and John P Martin "The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Earnings and Employment in France", OECD Economic Studies, 16, Spring 1991, pp.199-221.
16. Charles Brown, "Minimum Wage Laws: Are they Overrated?" Journal of Economic Perspectives 2(3) Summer, 1988, 133-45.
17. Richard B. McKenzie "The Minimum Wage: A New Perspective on an Old Policy", 1987.


COPY

STATISTICS

HOT OFF THE PRESS

CATALOGUE No. 05.500

SET No. 92.93/087

HOUSEHOLD LABOUR FORCE SURVEY

SEPTEMBER 1992 QUARTER

This Information Release presents key seasonlly adjusted and survey statistics for the September 1992 quarter from the Department of Statistics' Household Labour Force Survey. Each survey estimate is the average for the three months and is subject to possible sampling error.

Figures have been rounded, and discrepancies may occur between sums of component items and totals as a result. All percentages have been calculated using unrounded figures.

l Unemployment Steady: The seasonally adjusted unemployment series shows that unemployment in the September 1992 quarter was unchanged from its level in the June 1992 quarter. Seasonally adjusted total unemployment was 167,000 . Seasonally adjusted male and female unemployment were 102,000 and 65,000 respectively.
l Unemployment Rates: The seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate in the September 1992 quarter was 10.3 percent. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for males was 11.1 percent and for females, 9.2 percent.
l Employment Steady: Seasonally adjusted total employment also showed little change. There was a small increase from 1,453,000 in the June 1992 quarter to 1,454,000 in the September quarter. Male employment was unchanged at 816,000. Female employment increased from 637,000 to 638,000.
l Labour Force Participation Rate Continues to Decline: The seasonally adjusted total labour force participation rate declined in the September 1992 quarter, from 63.2 percent in June 1992 to 63.1 percent. Male participation fell from 73.1 percent to 73.0 percent. Female participation was unchanged at 53.6 percent.
l Regional Unemployment: The Bay of Plenty regional council area had the highest unemployment rate of 12.5 percent in the September 1992 quarter. The Nelson-Marlborough/West Coast area had the lowest unemployment rate of 7.0 percent.
l Industry Changes: The largest changes in surveyed employment from the June 1992 to September 1992 quarter were in the Wholesale and Retail Trade, Restaurants and Hotels industry group, where employment fell by 9,800 to 302,400; and in the Business and Financial Services Industry group, where employment was up by 4,300 to 159,100.
l Full-time and Part-time Employment: Surveyed full-time employment fell by 12,400 from 1,141,200 in the June 1992 quarter to 1,128,800 in the September 1992 quarter. Surveyed part-time employees declined by 1,500, from 317,400 in june to 315,900 in September.
l Jobless: The survey statistics show that there were 244,600 persons who were without a job and wanted a job in September 1992 quarter. This group, known as the `jobless', includes the official unemployed plus those persons who were without a paid job and available for work, but not actively seeking work, plus those actively seeking work but not immediately available to start.

Table 4



Why HR Nicholls?

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