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 report purple arrow up  IMPROVING TREND

The employment rate has increased and is now slightly higher than pre-2008 levels.

This indicator is the proportion of working age people in the Waikato region who are employed.

Why is this indicator important?

Both the employment rate (and by association, the unemployment rate) indicate how much paid employment is available within an area. These rates are affected by several factors, including economic conditions and the availability of work, migration flows, skill levels, family responsibilities and personal decisions.

Paid employment is a major factor determining people’s personal income, which in turn determines people’s ability to purchase goods and services. It also affects health, housing, education and crime outcomes. People often define themselves by their employment status, so employment is linked to their ability to participate and have a sense of belonging in their community. Overall, it contributes to the standard of living people and their families have access to and thus their quality of life.


Employment 2019

Year (Dec qtr) Employment rate (per cent of working age population)
2006 67
2007 67
2008 67
2009 65
2010 64
2011 65
2012 63
2013 64
2014 64
2015 64
2016 65
2017 69
2018 70

What is this indicator telling us? 

  • Employment rate trends in the Waikato region tend to reflect national trends.
  • The Waikato regional employment rate fell from 67% in 2007 to 63% in 2012 and has since recovered to 70% in December 2018. Mirroring this, the regional unemployment rate increased from around 3.7% of the labour force in 2007 to a peak of 6.4% in March 2012 and has now recovered to 3.9%.
  • Note that, in addition to being either employed or unemployed, people can also be classified as ‘not in the labour force’. The proportion of people in the Waikato region that are ‘not in the labour force’ typically tends to fluctuate at around 30% to 32% of the working age population but is currently at a record low of 27%. This means a higher than average proportion of people are now working or actively seeking work.
  • As at 2018, New Zealand’s employment-to-population ratio was approximately eight percentage points above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average. New Zealand is currently 6th on the OECD employment rankings amongst countries such as the Netherlands, Japan, Germany and Denmark.

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.

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Labour market statistics, including Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) data are available from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) online. Relevant figures are from Table 6: People employed, unemployed, and not in labour force, by regional council. Employment rates are reported for each council. New Zealand comparative figures are from Table 3: People employed, unemployed, and not in labour force, by sex (Total).

Update details: Quarterly rates available from the HLFS, published online by SNZ within 5-6 weeks following the end of the quarter.

Customised data request requirements: Nil


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: No

Other regions: Yes  

New Zealand: Yes  

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Most recent OECD comparative figures are available online.