Fast Facts

Labour force will grow and age

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New Zealand’s labour force is projected to keep growing, driven by an increasing population and people working into older ages, Stats NZ said. The labour force includes both employed and unemployed people.

Currently 2.6 million people are in the labour force. The new projections indicate a total labour force of around 3.0 million in 2030 and 3.5 million in 2068.

People aged 65 years and over (65+) will make up an increasing share of the labour force. In 1991, just 1 percent of the labour force was aged 65+. Currently the 65+ share is 6 percent; this is projected to increase to 9 percent in the late 2020s.

“The labour force will grow into the future, but at a slowing rate, reflecting what is happening with our population,” population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

“We are also seeing more people aged 50 and over in the labour force.”

The participation rate for people in their 50s is 85 percent in 2017. This will increase to 88 percent in 2038 and 89 percent in 2068. For people in their 60s, the participation rate is currently 59 percent, but this will rise to 64 percent in 2038 and 67 percent in 2068.

“In the long term, slower population growth and our increasingly older age structure will slow labour force growth, providing the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation remains the same,” Mr Dolan said.

Source: Stats NZ

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