Labour market scorecard

The labour market scorecard is a quarterly update of significant labour market statistics and indicators, which provides an overview of the state of the labour market.

June 2018

Labour Market Scorecard [PDF, 133 KB]

Data tables [CSV, 33 KB]

Current state of the labour market: Improved

The state of the labour market has improved in the June quarter, particularly for women. The employment rate for women (62.8%), was the highest-ever rate on record. The unemployment rate for women (4.7%) in the June quarter was also the lowest rate for women since the December 2008 quarter.

Overall, the labour market in the June 2018 quarter remained stable, with the unemployment rate remaining close to the 9-year low (4.4%) seen last quarter. Despite a tight labour market, wage growth remains subdued.

What each scorecard dial shows

Labour demand was steady

  • The employment rate was unchanged at 67.7% in the June 2018 quarter, the second-highest rate since the series began in 1986 (the highest was 67.8% in the September 2017 quarter).
  • Employment was up 0.5% over the quarter leading to 2.63 million people in employment. This increase in employment was driven by growth in employment for women (up 14,000) while employment for men fell slightly (down 1,000)

Labour market matching has improved

  • The unemployment rate rose to 4.5% in the June 2018 quarter (up 0.1 pp). This slight increase follows 5 consecutive quarters of declines in the unemployment rate.
  • The under-utilisation rate also rose slightly to 12.0% (up 0.1 pp).
  • The NEET rate of 10.9% in the June 2018 quarter is down from 12.4% in the previous quarter. The biggest driver of this drop in the NEET rate was a decrease of 8,000 people in the 15-19 age group not in the labour force and not in education.

Labour supply has decreased

  • The participation rate fell to 70.9% in the June 2018 quarter (down 0.1 pp).
  • Labour force growth (up 0.6%) was caused by strong working-age population growth (up 0.5%), driven by relatively high net migration.

Labour quality has improved

  • The proportion of people in the workforce with a bachelor’s degree rose to 27.3% in the June 2018 quarter (up 1.2 pp from the June 2017 quarter).
  • This is further supported by a 1.3 pp increase in the proportion of people aged 25 to 34 years with NCEA level 4 or higher qualifications in the year to March 2018.

Workplace performance has improved

  • The proportion of people in skilled employment rose to 63.3% in the year to March 2018 (up by 0.7 pp since the March 2017 year).
  • Average ordinary time hourly earnings increased by 3.0% to $31.00 an hour over the year to June 2018.
  • The Care and Support Worker (Pay Equity) Settlement Act 2017, which came into effect on 1 July 2017, remains the major driver of annual wage growth.
  • However, the minimum wage increase of 75 cents to $16.50 on 1 April 2018 was the main contributor to quarterly wage growth.

March 2018

Labour Market Scorecard [PDF, 113 KB]

Data tables [CSV, 31 KB]

Current state of the labour market: Improved

The unemployment rate dropped to 4.4%, and now equals the lowest rate since the December 2008 quarter. Employment gains in the March quarter were mainly driven by more women than men being employed.

While aggregate results are positive this quarter, labour market outcomes for some population groups are lagging. There is a persistent gap between unemployment for Māori and Pacific Peoples, and outcomes for other ethnic groups.

Outcomes for youth (eg NEET rates) are also not improving at the same rate as outcomes for the general population. Wage growth remains subdued, despite the tightening labour market.

What each scorecard dial shows

Labour demand was steady

  • The employment rate was unchanged at 67.7% in the March 2018 quarter, the second-highest rate since the series began in 1986 (the highest was 67.8% in the September 2017 quarter).
  • Employment was up 0.6% over the quarter leading to 2.62 million people in employment. This increase in employment was driven by growth in employment for women (up 0.8 pp) while employment for men increased more slowly (up 0.4 pp). The employment rate for women was the highest on record at 62.6%.

Labour market matching has improved

  • The unemployment rate fell to 4.4% in the March 2018 quarter (down 0.1 pp). This was the fifth consecutive quarter the unemployment rate has fallen, and now equals the lowest rate since the December 2008 quarter when it was also 4.4% (before the global financial crisis).
  • The under-utilisation rate fell to 11.9% (down 0.3 pp). The fall in under-utilisation mainly reflects 9,000 fewer people being underemployed, which included 8,000 fewer women. With fewer underemployed women, the under-utilisation rate for women fell to 14.6% (down 0.6 pp).
  • The NEET rate of 12.4% is down from 12.7% a year ago. The number of NEET men (42,000) has exceeded that for women (41,000) for the first time since the series began in 2004.

Labour supply has decreased

  • The participation rate fell to 70.8% in the March 2018 quarter (down 0.1 pp).
  • Labour force growth (up 0.4%) was more than balanced by strong working-age population growth (up 0.6%), driven by relatively high net migration.
  • The participation rate for women increased to 65.8% (up 0.1 pp) while for men it decreased to 76.1 (down 0.3 pp).

Labour quality has improved

  • The proportion of people aged 25-34 with level 4 and above qualifications rose to 58.4% in the year to March 2018, up from 57.1% in the year to March 2017.

Workplace performance has improved

  • The proportion of people in skilled employment rose to 62.7% in the year to December 2017 (up by 0.4 pp since the December 2016 year).
  • The age-standardised rate of serious non-fatal work-related injuries decreased to 14.3 injuries per 100,000 in 2016, down from 15.0 in 2015. This rate has been decreasing since 2012.

Glossary of terms and sources

Indicator Measure Source Date Definition
Economic Growth Gross Domestic Product Stats NZ, National Accounts Mar 2018 Production measure, seasonally adjusted chain-volume series expressed in 2009/10 prices
Labour demand Employment Stats NZ , Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) Jun-18 Seasonally adjusted, number of people in employment in the working-age population
  Employment by industry HLFS Jun-18 Employment by industry (ANZSIC 2006)
  Full-time/part-time employment growth HLFS Jun-18 Full time = 30 hours per week or more. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
  Employment by gender HLFS Jun-18 Employment by gender. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
  Consensus employment forecasts NZ Institute of Economic Research Jun-18 An average of New Zealand economic forecasts compiled from a survey of financial and economic agencies
  Employment by region HLFS Jun-18 Number of people in employment by region. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Labour Junket matching Unemployment rate HLFS Jun-18 Seasonally adjusted, unemployment/total labour force
  Unemployment by gender, ethnicity and long-term unemployed HLFS Jun-18 Unemployment rate by ethnicity for total response ethnic group. Long-term unemployment (more than 6 months) excludes duration not specified.
  Underutilisation rate by gender HLFS Jun-18 Seasonally adjusted number of underutilised persons/extended labour force. Underutilisation rate includes people who are either unemployed, underemployed or in the potential labour force
  Youth NEET HLFS Jun-18 Seasonally adjusted, people aged 15-24 not in employment, education or training (includes those caring for children or others)
  Job vacancies Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), Jobs Online Jun-18 All Vacancies Index - trend series of advertised vacancy growth on the main internet job boards.
  Vacancies per applicant SEEK NZ, SEEK Employment Index Jun-18 Trend series of change in the number of vacancies per applicant on the SEEK internet job board. As the index goes up there are fewer applicants for each vacancy and is consistent with a fall in surplus labour. SEEK had been re-indexed the data to 2010.
  Difficulty finding skilled labour NZIER, Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion (QSBO) Jun-18 Difficulty in finding the skilled staff you want today compared with three months ago - % of firms finding it harder minus % of firms finding it easier – a score above zero indicates it is getting harder to find skilled staff.
  Unemployment by region HLFS Jun-18 Unemployment rate by region. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Labour supply Labour force participation rate HLFS Jun-18 Seasonally adjusted, total labour force/working age (15+) population
  Labour force participation rate by gender HLFS Jun-18 Labour force participation rate by gender
  Labour force participation rate by ethnicity HLFS Jun-18 Participation rate by ethnicity for total response ethnic group.
  Migration Stats NZ, International travel and migration Jun-18 Net permanent and long-term (+12 months) migration per year, unadjusted data
  Departures to Australia Stats NZ, International travel and migration Jun-18 Total permanent and long-term departures to Australia per year
  Retirement rates Stats NZ, National Labour Force Projections 2018 MBIE calculations of the net number of people aged 50 years and over who will leave the labour force each year based on Stats NZ median scenario labour force projections (50th percentile)
  Immigration Approvals MBIE, Migration Trends & Outlook Jun-18 Previous year and year-to-date number of visa approval under the Essential Skills policy, which includes people whose employer has been ‘Approved in Principle’ to recruit from overseas
  Participation rate by region HLFS Jun-18 Participation rate by region. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Labour quality Qualification attainment rate (25-34 year olds with level 4+ quals) Ministry of Education, HLFS Jun-18 Number and share of 25 to 34 year olds first time completions of a qualification at NCEA level 4 or above
  Degree holders in the workforce MBIE estimates based on HLFS Jun-18 Number of people with a Bachelor's degree or higher aged 15-64 years in the labour force/total population aged 15-64 years
  18 year olds with NCEA level 2 or higher Ministry of Education Jul-16 Rate of 18 year olds attaining at least NCEA level 2 or equivalent qualification.
  School leavers with less than NCEA level 1 Ministry of Education Jul-16 School leaver qualifications - those with little or no qualifications.
  Qualification attainment rate by region (25-34 year olds with level 4+ quals) MBIE estimates based on HLFS Jun-18 Number and share of 25 to 34 year olds first time completions of a qualification at NCEA level 4 or above, split by region; Reported as annual average.
Workplace performance Skilled occupation rate MBIE, Direct Estimate of Employment (DEE) Mar 2018 Number of people employed in a skilled occupation (ANZSCO level 1-3)/ total number of employed people. These estimates are prepared using 2013 Census data and are not comparable to previously published estimates.
  Private sector productivity related wage growth Stats NZ, Labour Cost Index (LCI) Jun-18 New wage growth measure. This is the difference between the unadjusted labour cost index (which includes productivity related pay increases, for example due to performance or experience) and the adjusted (official) Labour Cost Index (which removes these sorts of increases, and is a pure wage inflation measure).
  Work-related fatal injuries Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC); WorkSafe NZ; Statistics New Zealand, Serious Injuries Outcome Indicators 2014-16 Age standardised rates. The rates are per 100,000 person years at risk. Three-year moving averages are calculated, no data presented for 2010.
  Work-related serious non-fatal claims ACC; Ministry of Health, National Minimum Dataset; Statistics New Zealand, Serious Injuries Outcome Indicators 2014-16 Age standardised rates. The rates are per 100,000 person years at risk.
  Labour Junket efficiency World Economic Forum, Annual Global Competitiveness Report 2017/2018 Measure based on an international opinion survey of business executives, incorporating “cooperation in labour-employer relations, flexibility of wage determination, rigidity of employment, hiring and firing practices, firing costs, pay and productivity, reliance on professional management, brain drain and female participation in the labour force.”
  Employment confidence Westpac McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index (survey of employees) Jun-18 Index based on measures of employee perceptions of future job prospects, job security and earnings growth: index is net measure of positive and negative perceptions, 100 = neutral