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Unemployment rate New Zealand 2018-2020

4.4 percent of the labor force in New Zealand were unemployed as of the first quarter of 2020. According to world bank estimates, the annual share of the labor force that were unemployed in 2019 was at 4.07 percent. By international standards, however, this value is relatively low.

Employment opportunities

After experiencing an economic downtown following the 2008 global financial crisis, the labor market in New Zealand has been slow to recover to pre-recession levels. This can be observed in the unemployment rate of the country, as well as in other economic indicators. That’s not to say the labor market isn’t improving - by 2020, employment in the country was estimated to continue increasing to 2.72 million people. However this estimate was made before the coronavirus crisis in early 2020. The country’s labor force participation rate, a measure of an economy’s active labor force, has also continued to increase.

The job market

New Zealand’s employment landscape is dominated by the services sector; over 70 percent of the workforce are employed in this economic sector. Although the agriculture and goods-producing sectors have been historically strong, the shift towards the services sector is becoming more evident across the nation.

Quarterly unemployment rate in New Zealand from 2nd quarter 2018 to 1st quarter 2020

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Release date

May 2020


New Zealand

Survey time period

2nd quarter 2018 to 1st quarter 2020

Supplementary notes

Figures are not seasonally adjusted

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