In the June 2021 quarter, compared with the March 2021 quarter:
- unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent
- underutilisation rate fell to 10.5 percent
- employment rate rose to 67.6 percent.
In the year to the June 2021 quarter:
- wage rates increased 2.1 percent
- average weekly earnings (for full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), including overtime) increased to $1,360.62
- average ordinary time hourly earnings rose to $34.76.
Unemployment rate falls
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.0 percent in the June 2021 quarter, down from 4.6 percent last quarter.
- For men, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, down from 4.6 percent last quarter.
- For women, the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent, down from 4.6 percent.
The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed people fell to 117,000, down 17,000, or 12.4 percent. This is the largest quarterly percentage fall since the HLFS series began in 1986.
- 12,000 fewer men were unemployed.
- 5,000 fewer women were unemployed.
Annually, the unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points from 4.1 percent. However, this was due to many people being unavailable or not able to actively seek work during the height of COVID-19 restrictions. This was represented at the time with an experimental extended unemployment rate of 4.6 percent.
This quarter, COVID-19 restrictions (like the brief Wellington region lockdown at the end of June 2021) had no discernible effect on the rate of unemployment.
Underutilisation rate falls
The seasonally adjusted underutilisation rate fell to 10.5 percent, down from 12.1 percent last quarter.
Underutilisation is a broad measure of spare capacity in New Zealand’s labour market and is just as important as the unemployment rate, as it gives us a more detailed picture of the workforce.
- For men, the underutilisation rate fell to 8.3 percent, down from 10.0 percent.
- For women, the underutilisation rate fell to 13.0 percent, down from 14.6 percent.
In the June 2021 quarter, the number of people who were underutilised fell to 315,000 (down 48,000):
- 26,000 fewer men were underutilised
- 22,000 fewer women were underutilised.
All the main groups within underutilisation (unemployment, underemployment, and the potential labour force) have fallen by a similar number of people.
Unemployment rate falls has information on quarterly and annual changes.
The number of underemployed people had the second largest quarterly fall since the underutilisation series began in 2004, down 16,000 to 107,000.
- 6,000 fewer men were underemployed, to 34,000.
- 10,000 fewer women were underemployed, to 72,000.
Underemployment includes people who are employed part-time (fewer than 30 hours a week) and want and are available for more work.
Potential labour force
The number of people in the potential labour force had the fourth largest quarterly percentage fall on record, down 14.3 percent, to 92,000.
- The number of available potential jobseekers (jobless people who want and are available to work, but have not actively sought employment) fell by 15,800, down to 70,000.
- The number of unavailable jobseekers (people who are unavailable to start work but have been looking for a job as they will be able to start work in the next month) rose by 1,000, up to 22,000.
The potential labour force consists of unavailable jobseekers and available potential jobseekers, that are on the periphery of the labour force, meeting two of three unemployment requirements.
The seasonally adjusted employment rate rose to 67.6 percent, up from 67.1 percent last quarter.
- For men, the employment rate rose to 72.6 percent, up from 72.1 percent last quarter.
- For women, the employment rate rose to 62.8 percent, up from 62.3 percent last quarter.
In the June 2021 quarter, there were 28,000 more employed people, up to 2,778,000, coming equally from men and women (up 14,000 each).
Annual changes in employment
In the year to the June 2021 quarter, many groups experienced statistically significant changes in employment (not seasonally adjusted). While annual comparisons are recommended to mitigate seasonal effects in unadjusted data, it should be noted that the June 2020 quarter labour market was strongly affected by COVID-19 border restrictions and lockdown measures.
The number of people in employment (not seasonally adjusted) increased 46,800 to 2,770,400 in the year to the June 2021 quarter.
- 28,300 more women in employment, to reach 1,303,600.
- 18,400 more men in employment, to reach 1,466,800.
- The only statistically significant change in employment, by region, was in Auckland, with 28,700 more people employed, to reach 945,700.
- 9,500 more 30–34-year-olds in employment, to reach 316,500.
- 7,400 more 40–44-year-olds in employment, to reach 266,600.
- 8,000 fewer 45–49-year-olds in employment, down to 279,500; however, this coincided with a decrease in the working-age population for this group.
- 12,000 more 60–64-year-olds in employment, to reach 216,600.
- 20,600 more Pacific people in employment, to reach 175,500.
- Overall changes in employment levels for Māori were not statistically significant; however, Māori women had a statistically significant increase in employment, up 13,900 to 185,700.
- Changes in the number of Asian people employed were not statistically significant over the year, but there was a statistically significant rise in the employment rate, up 3.4 percentage points to 73.0 percent.