Unemployment, employment – the jigsaw puzzle of the labour market

A graph showing the gradual rise in the number of people employed in New Zealand, and a fluctuating unemployment rate whcih was highest in the 1990s, went down in the early 2000s and went up again, but not as much, in the 2008 - 2013

Numbers of people in employment are rising, while the unemployment rate fluctuates

I found this graph recently on the Reserve Bank’s website.

It shows part of the complexity of the labour market. I hadn’t realised how the number of people employed has been climbing so steadily, or just how much the unemployment rate fluctuates.

There’s another sad aspect to the figures – the proportion of people who have been unemployed long term. However, this graph from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment shows that the proportion of people who have been unemployed for more than six months is much lower than in the recession of the 1990s:

Graph showing fluctuating unemployment rate, broken down by length of unemployment and showing that the recession of the 1990s had the highest proportion of long-term unemployed

The proportion of unemployed people who had been unemployed long-term was highest in the 1990s

However, in another part of the labour market picture, employers are reporting it increasingly hard to find skilled staff, as this graph from the same report shows:

Graph showing an increasing gap between the unemployment rate and the ease of finding skilled labour

Skilled workers are increasingly hard to find

So it’s encouraging to read a recent report saying that school drop-out rates are at an all-time low – staying in school is the start of getting skilled. But it’s certainly possible to pick up skills in later life – more about this on our website for adults considering training or retraining.

See the Careers New Zealand take on the labour market, and what it means for job-seekers.


  1. Jean

    Thank you for this excellent article. Have posted it on the CDANZ LinkedIn page.

    • Patricia Laurenson

      Thank you Jean.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s