More fantastic! economic news, from StatsNZ:
Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.8 Percent
Results of the September 2004 quarter Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) show a continuation of the labour market strength observed in recent quarters. This is reflected in strong employment growth of 0.9 percent, a fall in the unemployment rate to 3.8 percent and increasing labour force participation.
The strong growth in employment this quarter is consistent with recent trends and was marked by an increase in seasonally adjusted female employment of 1.8 percent, while male employment was essentially flat (up 0.3 percent). As in recent quarters, there was strong growth in seasonally adjusted full-time employment this quarter. Part-time employment decreased marginally over the quarter, after a slight increase last quarter.
The total labour force grew by 15,000 over the quarter. This increase was larger than the quarterly growth of 9,200 in the working-age population, leading to a fall in the number of people not in the labour force and an increase in the labour force participation rate. However, the increase in the total labour force has not been as large as the increase in employment, resulting in the further tightening of the labour market observed over the quarter.
The number of people unemployed fell by a similar amount to recent quarters and, combined with the labour force growth, resulted in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate falling to the lowest level it has been since the survey began in March 1986. In the trend series, the unemployment rate has fallen steadily since September 1998, with the exception of one quarter.
Over the year to September 2004, unadjusted unemployment rates have fallen for the European/Päkehä and Mäori ethnic groups, but increased for the Pacific peoples and 'Other' groups. Unadjusted unemployment rates in the September 2004 quarter stood at 8.3 percent for Mäori, 7.7 percent for Pacific peoples, 6.5 percent for the 'Other' ethnic group, and 2.6 percent for the European/Päkehä ethnic group.
Once again it is the trifecta - unemployment fell, employment rose and labour force participation increased. More details in Hot Off The Press. This helps explain why income tax revenue is growing so strongly - 200,000 more people are working than were working in 1999. That is a ~12% increase in the number of people in work. Unemployment has fallen from 7.2% to 3.8%...
What great news to take into Conference...