Unemployment rate

The labour force (the total potential labour available) is split into two groups: those with a job (employed) and those without (unemployed). Unemployment is the situation of being without work, wanting work, and actively seeking work (but excludes being too discouraged to seek work and those who are in effect unemployed but are working just a few hours, and would like more work) [7].

The personal and social costs of unemployment include severe financial hardship and poverty, debt, homelessness and housing stress, family tensions and breakdown, long-term harm for children and young people, increased social isolation, crime, loss of work skills, ill-health, and reduced subjective wellbeing [11-13]. The health impacts are linked to both the psychological consequences and the financial problems that result from being unemployed. Most of these effects increase with the duration of unemployment [12]. Moving from unemployment to employment improves people’s physical health, mental health, and subjective wellbeing [11].

This indicator presents the unemployment rate for greater Christchurch and New Zealand (non-seasonally adjusted). Unemployment is defined as being in the civilian working-age population, without a paid job, but available for work and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate is, therefore, the proportion of the labour force that is unemployed [7].

In September 2018, the (non-seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in New Zealand fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest unemployment rate since September 2008, before rising to 4.4 percent by the end of 2018. In comparison, the unemployment rate in greater Christchurch further converged with the New Zealand rate, increasing 1.1 percentage points from March 2016 to December 2018 (from 2.8% to 3.9%). The pattern of increasing unemployment in greater Christchurch over the last three years follows a period of steady decline in the unemployment rate from late 2012 through to the end of 2015. The notably low rates during this period (at times below 3%) were at least partly due to an increase in activities relating to the Christchurch rebuild. The unemployment rate in greater Christchurch now appears to be tracking in-step with New Zealand overall.

Data Sources

Source: Statistics New Zealand.
Survey/data set: Household Labour Force Survey to December 2018. Custom data request for greater Christchurch region.
Source data frequency: Quarterly.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 24/09/2019