Underemployment rate

The labour force is fundamentally split into two groups: those with a job (employed) and those without (unemployed). However, underemployment relates to the grey area of employment where people have a job but face a partial lack of work (labour force underutilisation) and have similarities to unemployed people. The underemployment rate includes people who have a part-time job of less than 30 hours per week but who want to work more hours, and are available to do so [7]. Underemployment describes workers who are constrained by the demand side of the labour market to work fewer hours than they desire.

This indicator presents the proportion (non-seasonally adjusted) of total employed who work part-time (less than 30 hours per week) who want to and are available to work more hours, in greater Christchurch and New Zealand.

The figure shows that the non-seasonally adjusted underemployment rate in greater Christchurch increased from 4.3 percent in March 2017 to 5 percent in December 2017 (4.3% and 5% for New Zealand, respectively). The figure also shows a large spike in underemployment in greater Christchurch corresponding to the beginning of the Canterbury earthquake sequence. The considerable disruption to local infrastructure and the interruptions experienced by many businesses meant that many workers could not work as desired. However, as the recovery and rebuild progressed, during the period from late 2012 to late 2015, demand for labour was high, and the underemployment rate for greater Christchurch tended to be lower than for New Zealand overall. However, since 2014, the greater Christchurch underemployment rate has realigned with the overall New Zealand rate.

Data Sources

Source: Statistics New Zealand.
Survey/data set: Household Labour Force Survey to December 2017. Custom data request for greater Christchurch region.
Source data frequency: Quarterly.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 06/11/2018