A New Province for Law and Order
Deregulation and Employment in New Zealand
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:
The main findings reported in this paper are:
- 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;
- 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.)
- 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
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
- 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
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)
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
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 ³ 20 employees). The first survey,
after the ECA was passed, looked at 190 contracts.
Each survey, apparently, shows much the same story,
- small increase in wages on average
- unions involved in about ½ 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
- 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
- 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 1½ 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
- 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!)
- 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.
- 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
13½% 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
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
(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
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
- "...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
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
- 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
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
- 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,
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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,
- 17. Richard B. McKenzie "The Minimum Wage: A New Perspective
on an Old Policy", 1987.
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Why HR Nicholls?