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Auckland regional household labour force survey: quarterly overview as at September 2023

Ross Wilson
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU | Statistics New Zealand
Publication date:  

An overview of labour force participation in Auckland, as indicated by results of Stats NZ's quarterly Household Labour Force Survey. HLFS

Overview and highlights

For the September1 2023 quarter, compared to the preceding quarter (June 2023)2:

  • Auckland’s unemployment rate was 4.0%, slightly3 higher than 3.6% in June 2023, and than the last two years’ record lows, but lower than nearly all of 2008 to 2020.
  • The number of people who were unemployed rose to 40,500 (+3,700).
  • The number of people employed fell to 979,100 (-7,100; full-time -12,800).
  • The number of people not in the labour force (NILF) fell slightly to 347,300 (-1,000).
  • The labour force participation rate rose slightly to 74.6%, a new record high.

In addition, for the September 2023 quarter:

  • The rate of young people aged 15 to 24 not in employment, education or training (NEET) was 10.2%, slightly below June (11.4%) and the rest of New Zealand (11.5%).

Over the year ended September 2023, compared to the year ended September 2022:

  • The unemployment rate averaged 3.6%, similar to a year earlier (2022: 3.3%).
  • Unemployment rate for ages 55+ rose (+1.1% to 2.4%, overtaking ages 40 to 54 (2.1%)), and for ages 20 to 24 rose slightly (+0.4% to 7.1%); rates across other age groups changed minimally, leaving ages 15 to 19 (15.0%) still the highest age group.
  • The unemployment rate for females averaged 3.9%, slightly above the previous year (3.7%). The rate for males averaged 3.3% (above 2.9% a year prior), so the gap between males and females (0.6%) was slightly below the 20-year average (0.8%).
  • Unemployment rates and changes varied between ethnic groups: for Māori the rate rose slightly (to 7.9%); Pacific peoples (6.9%) and European peoples (2.6%) were similar; Asian peoples rose (3.2%); all compared to the year before.
  • The labour force participation rate (LFPR) averaged 74.4%, higher than a year earlier (72.4%) and another new record highest in at least 28 years.
  • The labour force participation rate for females (69.8% – a new record) rose (up 2.2% from 67.6%); for males (a record 79.0%) it also rose, but by less (up 1.6% from 77.4%).
  • Labour force participation rates rose for all age groups, especially ages 20-24 (81.5%, up 3.1%) and 15-19 (47.5%, up 2.4% from 45.1%); there were slight rises for ages 25-39 (88.2%, up 1.4%), 40-54 (89.2%, up 0.7%) and 55+ (52.5%, up 1.5%). Rates for all age groups were at or very near record highs.
  • Labour force participation rates rose for all four main ethnic groups: Asian (78.1%, a 1.8% rise), European (75.3%, up 2.0%), Māori (70.0%, up 1.8%) and Pacific (67.3%, up 1.9%). All groups were at new record levels (Pacific: similar to June 2023 record high). 

In addition, over the year ended September 2023:

  • The annual average NEET rate for Auckland was 11.0%, similar to the rest of New Zealand (11.6%), and slightly below the year ended September 2022 (11.9%).
  • Auckland’s NEET rate was higher for ages 20-24 (13.8%) than 15-19 (8.0%).
  • Auckland NEET rates were highest for Māori (18.9%) and Pacific (16.5%) ethnicities, and for the Southern Initiative area (17.3%).


1. See note in Introduction regarding impact of floods and Cyclone Gabrielle

2. Results are not seasonally adjusted, and include Stats NZ revisions (usually minor) of previous periods’ data.

3. The definition of ‘similar/slightly’ or ‘different’ is relative to survey sampling error margins produced by Stats NZ. For further details see ‘Significant difference’ in Appendix 1.

Overview published November 2023.

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