2015 – Ongoing jobless tally



Unemployment logo


Continued from: 2014 – Ongoing jobless tally

So by the numbers, for this year;

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December 2014 quarter – Employment & Unemployment


Employment at a glance
Dec 2014 quarter Quarterly change Annual change
(000) Percent
Employed 2,375 +1.2 +3.5
Unemployed    143 +5.8 -2.6
Filled jobs 1,800 +0.1 +2.5
Percent Percentage points
Employment rate  65.7 +0.4 +1.0
Unemployment rate 5.7 +0.3 -0.3
Labour force participation rate 69.7 +0.7 +0.9



1. All figures are seasonally adjusted. Data source: Household Labour Force Survey: December 2014 quarter

2. Employed: Includes people who worked one hour (or more) per week, whether paid or unpaid.

3. Statistics NZ  has combined the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), and Labour Cost Index (LCI) information  into one combined Labour Market Statistics release.



March 2015 quarter – Employment & Unemployment


March 2015
Quarterly change Annual change 
(000) Percent
2,355 +0.7 +3.2
Unemployed   146 +2.1  -0.6
Filled jobs 1,832  +1.8 +3.3
Percent Percentage points
Employment rate 65.5 0.0 +0.7
Unemployment rate   5.8 0.0  -0.2
Labour force participation rate 69.6 +0.2 +0.6
Level Percent
Average ordinary time hourly earnings $28.77 0.0  +2.1
Wage inflation (salary and
wage rates, including overtime)
1105 +0.3 +1.7
From Statistics New Zealand;

The unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent in the March 2015 quarter (from a revised 5.8 percent in the December 2014 quarter), while the labour force participation rate reached an all-time high of 69.6 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“This is the greatest share of New Zealanders we have ever seen in the labour force. The largest increase came from 20 to 34-year-olds, who accounted for nearly half this year’s increase,” labour market and households statistics manager Diane Ramsay said.

Over the year to the latest quarter, the number of people employed increased 74,000 (3.2 percent) while the number of people unemployed fell 1,000 (0.6 percent), as measured by the Household Labour Force Survey.

“We saw strong employment growth over the year, with Auckland and Canterbury making the most significant contributions,” Ms Ramsay said.

The employment rate was unchanged, at 65.5 percent. However, the rate for men reached its highest level since the December 2008 quarter. The female employment rate was down slightly from last quarter’s record high.

Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index, was steady, at 1.7 percent, while consumer price inflation remained low. Average hourly earnings, as measured by the Quarterly Employment Survey, increased 2.1 percent for the year, the lowest increase since the year to the June 2013 quarter.



Additional Information

The  under-employment stats;

People who are underemployed are those who work part-time, would prefer to work more hours, and are available to do so. In unadjusted terms, the number of underemployed grew by 12 percent over the year. While the number of part-time workers increased over the year, the ratio of people underemployed to employed part-time also rose – from 17.1 percent in June 2013 to 18.7 percent this quarter.

Official under-employment: up


Jobless: people who are either officially unemployed, available but not seeking work, or actively seeking but not available for work. The ‘available but not seeking work’ category is made up of the ‘seeking through newspaper only’, ‘discouraged’, and ‘other’ categories.

Under-employment: employed people who work part time (ie usually work less than 30 hours in all jobs) and are willing and available to work more hours than they usually do.

Employed: people in the working-age population who, during the reference week, did one of the following:

  • worked for one hour or more for pay or profit in the context of an employee/employer relationship or self-employment 

  • worked without pay for one hour or more in work which contributed directly to the operation of a farm, business, or professional practice owned or operated by a relative 

  • had a job but were not at work due to: own illness or injury, personal or family responsibilities, bad weather or mechanical breakdown, direct involvement in an industrial dispute, or leave or holiday.


Other Sources

Statistics NZ:  Household Labour Force Survey



[To  be periodically up-dated]



= fs =


  1. The official unemployment (UE) rate is so statistically misleading and useless that it cannot be relied upon. That you can work for one hour and not even be paid to be considered employed may be technically correct but its fraudulent in its intent.

    This is why National love “Flexibility” in the workplace. It achieves the goal of making someone employed even if they on are those rancid and common zero hour contracts. That looks good on the official jobless stats and the government is a winner.

    It also puts that person firmly in the impoverished and exploited category because without someone or something subsidising them they could not possibly survive. On that stat National do not give a shit because their voters don’t, or don’t read past the headline UE stats.

    We’re living a lie in NZ at the moment!

    • The past was erased, the erasure forgotten, the lie became truth….to be precise Frank.

      Since when did being employed for 1 hour, whether paid or not, constitute being employed FFS? What sort of neoliberal bullshit is that and why is it not shouted from the highest buildings in the land? When did that bit of Tory sophistry and hide the nut under the walnut shell take place? The emperor’s got no clothes on!

      It’s just the same as English spouting on about landing a surplus while NZ’s debt is 25% of GDP. FFS Greece is going to be lending us money soon!! VNZ’s humungus debt mountain thanks to National The emperor’s got no clothes on!

      But let’s face it MSM are shit, They are muppets with National Party sympathisers with their hands firmly up the jacksies of the MSM. The emperor’s got no clothes on!

  2. Thanks Frank for the article, this area is indeed an example of orwellian doublespeak. I know of 2 people (at least) from a university whose positions have been ‘disestablished’ in 2015, which is a euphemism form being made redundant in all but the word itself. The jobs still need to be done, but it appears more economically viable to employ short term contractors (who eventually become employees at a cheaper rate) than loyalty to longer term employees.

    • Fredster

      Don’t forget the situations where the disestablished workload just gets spread around the remaining workers (who are too scared of poverty to resist). Unpaid overtime is becoming more common – taking work home, or working through the lunchbreak to catch up.

  3. Great statistical work here,

    I picked up the Gisborne Herald from last Tuesday 10th February, and the page three article was” Rising unemployment evident in new survey” so you are bang on.

    According to the NZ Household Labour Force survey it now has Gisborne who was third highest employed nine months ago to second most unemployed region in NZ in just nine months!!!

    So National saved four million by closing down our rail, but has exacted a horrendous toll on the whole east coast because of the closure, and now faces soaring unemployment instead!!

    Rail closure has caused a large shift of export raw products out of Gisborne now north by road through the torturous 77km Waioeka Gorge unstable road to the Tauranga region, and has also exacted massive roading costs far more than closing the rail ever was due to the heavy truck traffic levels now ripping up the roads.

    This has also caused far less production of those products and horticultural export employment in the Gisborne-Napier-Hastings regions now all just because of the rail closures the dimwit Governmment caused.

    We are now in decline throughout provincial NZ and the statistics prove National are destroying provincial NZ as we speak.

  4. As we already know, it requires only 1 hour employment per week that is paid, to qualify a person for being “employed” under the Household Labour Force Survey. There are also other details to consider before reading and understanding unemployment or employment figures. Here is a guide that gives useful information:


    Some important information from that guide, explaining definitions and how figures for certain categories are gathered and come about:

    “The HLFS Persons unemployed in the labour force series (referred to in this article as HLFS unemployment) is the official measure of unemployment in New Zealand.
    To count as unemployed in the HLFS, a person must be:
    • part of the working-age population: the usually resident, non-institutionalised, civilian population of New Zealand aged 15 years and over
    • without a paid job
    • both actively seeking and available for paid work, or have a new job to start within the next four weeks.”

    “The HLFS also produces a broader series called the jobless to account for people who aren’t in work, but do not meet the specific criteria to be counted as unemployed in the HLFS. This series incorporates the HLFS unemployed, as well as those who are available for, but not actively seeking work and those who are actively seeking, but not available for work.”

    “The ‘available but not seeking work’ category can be further broken down into the ‘discouraged’, ‘seeking through newspaper only’, and ‘others available but not actively seeking work’. The latter may include students, or parents with young children.”

    “Jobseeker support – work ready”
    “Unemployment benefit numbers, produced by MSD, were previously used as a measure of unemployment. However, these numbers are no longer produced following major changes to benefit categories.
    In July 2013, the unemployment benefit was transferred to the newly created jobseeker support. Jobseeker support – work ready is a subset of the jobseeker support benefit, and is most appropriate as a measure of people actively seeking full-time work who are unable to support themselves financially.”

    “Moving from unemployment benefit to jobseeker support”
    “The July 2013 Welfare Reform led to major changes to benefit categories. The majority of previous benefits were consolidated into three main benefit categories with differing work obligations: Jobseeker support, sole parent support, and supported living payment. The unemployment benefit was transferred to jobseeker support (see figure 1). As a result, MSD unemployment figures are not directly comparable pre- and post-July 2013.”

  5. Breaking news: Stockton Mine has just axed 151 jobs. Nice one Solid Energy/National. You bastards.

  6. Some more to add to May’s total:

    113 jobs to go at Solid Energy’s Stockton mine.


    Up to 15 jobs are under a cloud as the Dunedin City Council considers outsourcing part of its information technology department.


    Plus the big one:

    The Southern District Health Board has announced it is going ahead with a plan to outsource its hospital kitchens.

    The move will see up to 20% of food workers lose their job.


    & that’s just the job losses deemed worthy of mention in today’s ODT. I’m sure that there have been small businesses going under this month too. The main street of Dunedin is starting to look like a boxer’s smile – lots of gaps there.

    • It’s the same in Hamilton, although I feel that I’m not really supposed to speak of such things. However, you can walk down any side street in town and 6 out of 10 shops will be vacant.

  7. Leonard H. Courtney, (1832-1918), later Lord Courtney, in New York in 1895 wrote:

    ‘After all, facts are facts, and although we may quote one to another with a chuckle the words of the Wise Statesman, “Lies – damn lies – and statistics,” still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of.’

    Doesn’t matter how much National tries to polish this unemployment turd, it’s still a turd. Doesn’t matter what is in the news, Key still yanked a ponytail multiple times. Doesn’t matter how many different flags you try and foist on New Zealand, the current one is still the best.

    Get your head out of your ass National and aksually do something instead of laisser-faire, neoliberal bullshit.

  8. Don’t you just love neo liberalism , the rockstar economy , minimum wages, foreign investment, a deunionised workforce , exorbitant prices for basic necessities , massive social problems in disease and housing that we didn’t have before , obscene power prices , student debt , a housing bubble about to burst in Auckland ,….

    Oh yes…the neo liberal dream . Brought to you by Roger Douglas in all its technicoloured treason and highlighted by the likes of Ruth Richardson , Jim Bolger , Jenny Shipley ….

    And now for the sequel !!!

    You guessed it !!!!….good old lying , hair pulling , assaulting John in tandem with Paula Benefit , Steven ‘ propaganda ‘ Joyce , Gerry ‘ run through the back door ‘ Brownlee , Judith Orivida Collins , Simon ‘ bridges ‘ Bridges , and last but not least – from the Double Dipper from Dipton itself – Bill English – the man who loves to state… ‘ we should be glad we have a low wage economy because it encourages foreign investment ‘….

    What a stage act !!!

    Financed by Warner Bro , Hollywood and the good old States of America.

    Special credits to Barak Bin Osama for the fast track for the TTPA.

    And just remember , folks ….YOU VOTED FOR THEM !!!!

    • Compare them to Cunnliffe, Robertson, Little, King, Maroney et El and we don’t know how lucky we are.

      Labour has some work to do and trying to blame others will not resolve the situation or take them to where they want to be. they need to connect with the ordinary people or the polls will send them further down – not many want Winston Peters leading the opposition

  9. Because of the almost fraudulent employment statistics, the only statistic that really matters is the total number of hours worked per annum in NZ. Assuming that the productivity per hour is fairly steady, the total hours worked represents the real productivity of the nation and is independent of whether workers work a forty hour week or are on zero hour contracts.
    I have tried to get these annual figures out of StatisticsNZ for the period from 2008 to 2014 (which would give a clear picture of whether the Government’s austerity measures are working or not) but cant ever make any sense out of their web site, which I think is a bad joke (perhaps they really dont want you to know). If you can get that data, Frank, I would be really pleased.

    • I think we can pretty much guarantee that if they had a genuine statistical analysis of the real unemployment rate in this country, we’d have to drag it out of them with threats and violence, because I suspect the true figures would make for horrifying reading.

      No, instead, what we have is a house of cards built on a mountain of bullshit, and they’ll lie and spin and evade to avoid having to acknowledge the fact, because in doing so they’ll essentially be shooting themselves in the face.

  10. Thanks for loading this post again, it is a good reminder.

    What has happened? From a purely economic point of view the following: High levels of immigration with lower emigration has led to very high net migration gains, which brings also more willing workers and entrepreneurs into the country.

    Growth is still happening in Christchurch and Canterbury, where they rebuild shattered homes, businesses and so forth, pulling in money from insurers and some from government and private investors. Migrant workers are brought in to work alongside Kiwi workers rebuilding. But first signs of slowing in Christchurch and Canterbury are showing, as the rebuild becomes more static.

    Some more construction has slowly started to take pace in Auckland and only a few other places. But it cannot keep up meeting demand, so overcrowding, people struggling to pay rent, fewer Kiwis being able to buy their own homes, all this will result in high levels of frustration and less spend on consumer goods.

    Dairy prices are low, so this is hitting many regions, also are other commodity prices low, not all, but most, so look at Solid Energy and the likes, even petroleum drilling, and there is no growth, there are even job losses. Some regions are suffering, or continue to suffer.

    Some Aucklanders and Cantabrians with property can get more credit based on higher equity in their homes, to spend, that “stimulates” consumption a bit. But others also expand property investments, for their own sake and gains.

    Wage and salary growth remains very low, due to high migration providing lots of willing workers, all competing for the jobs there are, so few workers have gained from the BS “boom”.

    More people spend more on homes, mortgages and rent, which means less is there to spend on other things. What surprise, retail spending seems to only grow due to migration, not individuals spending more for themselves per person. Borrowing for housing will increase private debt, and students still borrow to get degrees.

    There is no real gain for most, some struggle more than before, and as demand for labour is easily met by supply, there is no real employment and wage growth. It seems productivity growth is also not that great.

    We are going to go from boom to bust, as the unaffordable housing prices will soon need an adjustment, and wait, the government will finally take some action, as it has no choice, to restrict migration a bit. Otherwise there may be serious dissent amongst too many New Zealanders not coping anymore with housing costs.

    When some new construction will finally take place in Auckland, Australia may have recovered, and more Kiwis will leave to go there again. Australia has mostly recovered more quickly than New Zealand, so do not think they simply sit there and do nothing about their problems.

    Then though there may be more houses and rental accommodation again, depressing the market. Highly leveraged new buyers and owners will feel the pressure when interest rates will eventually go up again, and many will not be able to keep up with paying off debt.

    In any case, those that think growing the population is the best growth strategy, then Bangla Desh should be the Switzerland of Asia. Is it though? The increased population will mean more local resources need to be consumed here, and this will mean less exports. More people need more infrastructure and services, and as supply will become more difficult, prices will go up further.

    That will drive more to move to Australia again.

    Welcome to the ever repeated revolving door economics based on migration flows in and out. New Zealand tends to repeat past mistakes, and growing the population to keep the economy going will come at a price, the future generations will have to pay.

    It is similar to telling people, have more babies, as that will be a greater “market” and more economic activity.

    Will they ever learn, also that the planet and its resources are finite?

  11. Creative accounting its called, as Key’s clowns again pulled the wool over all our eyes as he always does.

    The tricky dickey of the south Pacific is Shonkey and an extremely dangerous man to boot.

  12. The ‘system’ is an experiment gone wrong, the fat cats who think work is playing golf are gouging the people doing the real work. Massive feed back loops are in play with global warming (jet stream and ocean currents collapsing, methane…) and global near term mass extinction including us. Industrial civilization needs to terminate, (and hunt down the arseholes who stole our futures), Forack Obama, Tar Sands mining…. If we don’t take control of the situation we will face starvation, predation and suicide. Depressing I know, huge changes to the system need to happen we need to look after and support each other. The writing is on the wall! When will common sense win out? ! We are mostly autistic and kind to each other, but we are fighting against psychopaths in power with only one agenda greed and selfishness, they should be the enemy of the people and in jail for crimes against humanity and all life on earth. We can go back to being a gift culture, share everything, be happy rather than a slave. The system is an illusion anyway we just need to change our collective mind. Everything is broken, start again with the Earth put first, it isn’t a vending machine, this was paradise, the ‘system’ is killing it and us. We won’t come out of this alive probably anyway. Sorry but the facts are out there.

      • If we go back to a gift culture, it will be involuntary – meaning that civilisation will have collapsed. We cant have a modern civilisation with all the communication that it entails simply by barter. It might work for carrots and onions but it cant work for roads and telecommunication.

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