Stats NZ Information Release: Employment indicators: Paid jobs week ended 16 August 2020

Employment indicators: Paid jobs week ended 16 August 2020

17 September 2020

Key facts

This series counts the number of unique employer-employee relationships present in payday filing 6, 13, and 27 days after the end of the reference week. These counts are published as they are, and no work has been done to adjust for seasonality or data flow issues.

Latest week

For the week ended 16 August 2020 the most accurate measure, number of paid jobs – 27 days, indicated the numbers of paid jobs (compared with the previous week) were:

  • 2,191,990 total paid jobs (up 4,010 or 0.18 percent)
  • 99,330 paid jobs in primary industries (up 460 or 0.47 percent)
  • 407,640 paid jobs in goods-producing industries (up 860 or 0.21 percent)
  • 1,628,480 in services industries (up 1,650 or 0.10 percent).

Not all enterprises can be matched to an industry, so total paid jobs can differ from the sum of paid jobs of the three industries

Changes and improvements to the weekly employment indicators

We will be updating the weekly employment indicator series on 1 October 2020, and making the following changes:

  • introducing median weekly earnings, and lower and upper quartile weekly earnings
  • changing the time lags that are used to produce the series
  • changing the definitions of which jobs are used to produce the series
  • adding a new category ‘industry not classified’ in the industry data.

We are making these improvements to better meet customers’ needs and make more use of the administrative data. Due to the changes, we will provide a new back-cast series. While we intended to stop this series at the end of October, we will continue weekly releases until the end of the year.

We are looking forward to feedback from our customers and are happy to answer questions about the data and upcoming changes.

More data

Stats NZ COVID-19 data portal presents the data in graphical format.

For technical enquiries contact: Jasmine Ludwig, Wellington, 04 931 4592, info@stats.govt.nz

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COVID-19 sees record 12.2 percent fall in New Zealand’s economy – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Gross domestic product: June 2020 quarter

COVID-19 sees record 12.2 percent fall in New Zealand’s economy – Media release

17 September 2020

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 12.2 percent in the June 2020 quarter, the largest quarterly fall recorded since the current series began in 1987, as the COVID-19 restrictions in place through the quarter impacted economic activity, Stats NZ said today.

“The 12.2 percent fall in quarterly GDP is by far the largest on record in New Zealand,” national accounts senior manager Paul Pascoe said.


Measures to contain COVID-19 have led to historically large falls in GDP in many parts of the world, with countries’ results reflecting the nature and timing of their responses, and the structure of their economies. For example, New Zealand’s result compares to falls of 7.0 percent in Australia, 11.5 percent in Canada, 7.9 percent in Japan, 20.4 percent in the United Kingdom, and 9.1 percent in the United States.

New Zealand started the June 2020 quarter in alert level 4 lockdown, with strict restrictions on the activities of both households and businesses. On 8 June 2020 New Zealand reached alert level 1, which saw the removal of physical distancing requirements.

“While level 4 restrictions were in place for most of April, the gradual return to level 1 over the course of the quarter meant that businesses were able to open up again and many people returned to places of work,” Mr Pascoe said.

New Zealand’s border closed to incoming international travellers on 19 March 2020 and remained closed throughout the June 2020 quarter.

Some industries were more affected than others by the border closure and alert levels restrictions in place during the June quarter.

“Industries like retail, accommodation and restaurants, and transport saw significant declines in production because they were most directly affected by the international travel ban and strict nationwide lockdown,” Mr Pascoe said.

“Other industries, like food and beverage manufacturing, were essential services and fell much less.”

The majority of construction activity and some of the manufacturing sub industries were deemed non-essential and so temporarily shut under alert level 4. Construction declined by 25.8 percent, and manufacturing fell by 13.0 percent.

The fall in production was paralleled by declines in household spending, which fell 12.1 percent over the quarter. Expenditure on household services such as domestic and international air transport and restaurant and takeaway meals fell sharply. Exports of travel services declined, as international visitor spending fell after the border closed.

Annually, GDP fell by 2.0 percent. This is the first annual decline since the March 2010 quarter.

GDP per capita fell by 12.6 percent in the June 2020 quarter.

The speed and scale of COVID-19 response measures presented a number of measurement challenges in the June 2020 quarter. In compiling estimates of GDP, Stats NZ has used additional data and analysis to respond to areas where the standard approach has limitations. This additional work means that the impact of COVID-19 over the course of the quarter is accounted for as accurately as possible to produce reliable first estimates of GDP.

“Today’s results represent the first official estimate of overall economic activity in the June 2020 quarter” Mr Pascoe said.

“As always, we’d expect to refine and revise this initial view as more complete data becomes available. This quarter is clearly not business-as-usual and there is generally a higher level of uncertainty associated with measuring such significant changes in economic activity. We have used extra data and careful analysis to minimise this uncertainty and provide a reliable first estimate for the quarter.”

GDP estimates will be updated as more detailed but less timely information comes to hand. This is in line with standard practice in New Zealand and internationally.

More detail about Stats NZ’s approach to measurement challenges this quarter is available  in June 2020 quarter Gross domestic product and COVID-19 and June 2020 quarter Gross domestic product and COVID-19: Updated

Key travel restrictions and COVID-19 alert system timeline:

19 March 2020: New Zealand’s borders closed to almost all travellers, except for returning New Zealanders.

25 March 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 4

27 April 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 3

13 May 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 2

8 June 2020: New Zealand enters COVID-19 alert level 1

Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker compares the timing and stringency of New Zealand’s response to those of other countries.

Stats NZ Information Release: Effects of COVID-19 on trade: 1 February–9 September 2020 (provisional)

Effects of COVID-19 on trade: 1 February–9 September 2020 (provisional)

16 September 2020

Effects of COVID-19 on trade is a weekly update on New Zealand’s daily goods trade with the world from 1 February 2020. Comparing the values with previous years shows the potential impacts of COVID-19.

The data is provisional and should be regarded as an early, indicative estimate of intentions to trade only, subject to revision.

We advise caution in making decisions based on this data.

Note: The large increase in the total import value on 26 June 2020 was due to the arrival of a new vessel for the Royal New Zealand Navy.

More data
Stats NZ COVID-19 portal presents the data in graphical format.

Definitions and metadata
Overseas merchandise trade weekly series – Datainfo+ provides the methodology used, and information on the quality and limitations of the dataset.

Stats NZ release notification

Dear subscriber,

Below you can find Stats NZ’s information releases for the next week. For more information about these releases go to Insights and make your selections in the drop down options.

17 September 2020
Employment indicators: Paid jobs week ended 16 August 2020
View recent Employment indicators releases

Gross domestic product: June 2020 quarter – M
View recent Gross domestic product releases

23 September 2020
Estimated resident population (2018-base): At 30 June 2018
View recent National population estimates releases

Estimated resident population 2018: Data sources and methods – report

Estimated resident population (2018-base): At 30 June 2018 – article

Post-enumeration survey: 2018
View recent Post-enumeration survey releases

Post-enumeration survey: 2018 – report

Effects of COVID-19 on trade: 1 February–16 September 2020 (provisional)
View recent Effects of COVID-19 on trade releases

New Zealand Activity Index (NZAC) release

25 September 2020
New Zealand Activity Index (NZAC) – includes August data

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Fall in imports drives current account surplus – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Balance of payments and international investment position: June 2020 quarter

Fall in imports drives current account surplus – Media release

16 September 2020

New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown saw imports fall more than exports, leading to a record current account surplus of $0.5 billion in the June 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today.

“New Zealand earned more than it spent in transactions with the rest of the world due to a sharp slowdown in international trade because of COVID-19,” international statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

“This reflects a slump in demand for oil imports and in spending by international tourists, while dairy exports held up in the June quarter, boosting the current account into the black.”

New Zealand’s seasonally adjusted current account surplus of $0.5 billion in the June 2020 quarter is the biggest in the series since 1971, and compares with a $1.4 billion deficit in the March 2020 quarter.

“A current account surplus occurs when New Zealand’s earnings from the rest of the world from exports, income on investments, and secondary income are larger than our expenses to the rest of the world,” Mr Dolan said.

“This is only the 11th quarterly seasonally adjusted current account surplus in the series. New Zealand typically runs a deficit, spending more than we earn – the last time we had a surplus was 11 years ago.”

The current account surplus was driven by the goods balance turning from a deficit into a $2.2 billion surplus. Exports fell $0.8 billion in the quarter but imports fell much more, down $3.2 billion.


“Domestic demand for crude oil imports fell as people stayed home due to the COVID-19 lockdown in the first half of the June quarter,” Mr Dolan said.

“Crude oil imports were much lower than usual from April to June 2020, with much less travel by road and air. Oil imports fell to zero in July, just after the end of the June 2020 quarter. With only essential businesses allowed to operate during alert levels 3 and 4, wholesale and manufacturing trade also shrank, reducing the imports required for production and further hitting related suppliers.”

See Crude oil imports dry up in July and Manufacturing and wholesale trade: June 2020 quarter for further information.

Services balance in deficit

New Zealand’s services balance was in deficit for the first time since the September 1998 quarter.

Exports of services were $3.9 billion in the June 2020 quarter, down $2.5 billion from the March 2020 quarter. Travel services were $2 billion for the quarter, down 48 percent (or $1.9 billion), after the border was closed to overseas visitors.

Imports of services were also down in the June 2020 quarter, by $1.8 billion. At $4 billion it is the smallest quarterly value since the March 2014 quarter.

“Overseas tourist spending on travel and transportation services took a big hit in the latest quarter as border crossings were restricted. However, there were still international visitors in the country from before the lockdown and the limited number of flights increased the cost of transporting freight,” Mr Dolan said.

See COVID-19 knocks spending by overseas visitors and students, Export prices hit new high and the New Zealand International Trade dashboard for further information.

For the year to June 2020 the current account deficit was $5.8 billion, or 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). This compares to $11.6 billion (3.8 percent of GDP) for the year to June 2019. This is the smallest the current account has been as a percentage of GDP since the year ended June 2010, when it was 1.7 percent of GDP.

Net international investment position remains steady – Stats NZ Media and Information Release: Balance of payments and international investment position: June 2020 quarter

Net international investment position remains steady Media release

16 September 2020

New Zealand’s net international liability position was steady at $180 billion at 30 June 2020, Stats NZ said today.

“Global financial markets saw large changes in valuation, while investment portfolios continued to adjust to the volatility COVID-19 has created,” international statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

At 30 June 2020, New Zealand’s net international liability position reached 58.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the highest percentage of GDP since the September 2016 quarter. This compares with 57.1 percent of GDP at 31 March 2020 and a peak of 84.2 percent (March 2009 quarter) during the global financial crisis (GFC).

Net international liability position wider than at end of 2019

When compared with the net international liability position at 31 December 2019, before COVID-19 took hold, the net international liability position is $8.9 billion wider.

“Since the start of 2020, market price changes had the largest impact on the net international liability position. Overall, changes in market prices reduced the value of New Zealand assets abroad by $8 billion, and increased the value of New Zealand liabilities to overseas by $5.6 billion,” Mr Dolan said.


Financial account

The threat of a global pandemic created a flurry of activity in the first half of the year. While there were large reallocations of portfolios from asset types such as equities into cash and deposits in the March 2020 quarter, there were further reallocations returning to a more diversified portfolio in the June 2020 quarter.


There was a net divestment of New Zealand investment abroad of $9.4 billion in the June 2020 quarter. While the largest driver of the inflow came from reducing holdings of currency and deposits (other investment), much of this was reinvested in assets like equities and debt securities (portfolio investment).

The $4.5 billion divestment in reserve assets was a by-product of domestic banks reducing their settlement account balances held with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (see RBNZ’s Balance Sheet). The higher levels of these settlement account balances were mainly attributed to RBNZ’s large-scale asset purchase program, which has injected cash into the New Zealand economy.

Net external debt

New Zealand’s net external debt widened $4.3 billion in the quarter to $145.5 billion at 30 June 2020.

New Zealand’s net external debt (borrowings from foreign lenders) is different from its net international liability position as the net external debt records investments in the form of debt instruments and excludes equity (shares) and financial derivatives.

General government net external debt was $18.4 billion at 30 June 2020 compared with $21.4 billion at 30 June 2019.

Impact of COVID-19 on seasonally adjusted and trend series

Impact of COVID-19 on seasonally adjusted and trend series – methods paper

15 September 2020

This page describes how COVID-19 has impacted seasonal adjustment, and why Stats NZ has temporarily suppressed publication of selected time series.

What are seasonally adjusted and trend time series?
In the seasonal adjustment process, the actual value is broken down into three components: trend for medium to long-term movements, seasonal for systematic annual effects, and irregular for short-term unsystematic fluctuations.

The seasonally adjusted values allow us to compare different periods without seasonality contributing to the differences. Trend time series are useful to compare data points against previous peaks and troughs, as well as indicate the direction of the series.

To read this paper on our website, visit:

Impact of COVID-19 on seasonally adjusted and trend series

New Zealand now: Housing at July 2020

New Zealand now: Housing at July 2020 – report

15 September 2020

This page draws together information from different Stats NZ releases, providing key facts about housing. It is intended as an easy reference for voters, media, and members of parliament.

We plan to release a series of topic-based papers in the run up to the general election on Saturday, 17 October 2020 (see Related pages at right). The series of papers will be a simple place to find information on topics that get discussed at election times. At Stats NZ we tend to get a few common requests and questions so these pages will help provide a consistent answer to those with impartial data.

Housing at a glance
Read Building consents issued: July 2020.

  • The number of new homes consented in July 2020 was 3,391.
  • In the year ended July 2020, the actual number of new dwellings consented was 37,585, up 6.0 percent from the July 2019 year.
  • The overall record for new homes consented is still 40,025 in the February 1974 year. This was when the population of New Zealand was around 3 million, compared with about 5 million in 2020.
  • About 7.6 new homes per 1,000 residents were consented in the year ended June 2020.
  • Homes are getting smaller, around 20 percent smaller than a decade ago.
  • Rents rose 3.3 percent in the year to July 2020, based on the index for the stock measure of rental property prices. (As a result of COVID-19, a rent freeze is in place till 25 September 2020.)
  • Tenure of households: at the time of the 2018 Census, 51.3 percent of occupied private homes were owned or partly owned, with another 13.3 percent held in a family trust. In total, 64.6 percent of occupied private homes were owned and the remaining 35.5 were not owned by their resident household.
  • New Zealand had 1.85 million occupied and unoccupied dwellings at the time of the 2018 Census.

To read this report on our website, visit:

New Zealand now: Housing at July 2020

Wellbeing outcomes worse for sole parents – Stats NZ Media Release

Wellbeing outcomes worse for sole parents – Media release

14 September 2020

Sole parents of dependent children report lower levels of wellbeing across a range of measures, Stats NZ said today.

Data from a new supplement, added to the June 2020 quarter of the household labour force survey, shows that 15 percent of New Zealanders aged 18 years or older rated their overall life satisfaction as low (a score of 0–6 on a scale of 0–10, where 0 is completely dissatisfied and 10 is completely satisfied). However, nearly twice as many sole parents gave this low rating (27 percent), compared with only 12 percent of partnered parents to dependent children. The majority (83 percent) of these sole parents were women.

“The lower life satisfaction ratings illustrate the difficulties many sole parents face across a number of measures that are key to a person’s subjective wellbeing,” wellbeing and housing statistics manager Dr Claire Bretherton said. “Historically, people’s experience in income, health, loneliness, and housing quality had a strong relationship with overall life satisfaction, and sole parents fared poorly across a number of these areas.”

Nearly one-fifth of sole parents do not have enough money for everyday needs

Eighteen percent of sole parents stated that they did not have enough money to meet everyday needs. This compared with only 5.2 percent of partnered parents and 6.2 percent of those who were not a parent to a dependent child. A further 43 percent of sole parents stated they had only just enough money.


In addition, one-quarter of sole parents had received help in the form of food, clothes, or money from an organisation, such as a church or foodbank, at least once in the previous year. Of those who received this form of help, two-thirds had done so more than once in the 12-month period.

One-third of sole parents experienced poor mental wellbeing

Sole parents experienced higher levels of poor mental wellbeing, as measured by the World Health Organization’s WHO-5 Well-being Index (with poor mental wellbeing classified as having a weighted score out of 100 of 51 or below). One-third of sole parents, compared with 20 percent of partnered parents, and 17 percent of those without dependent children, were identified as having poor mental wellbeing using this index. Seventeen percent of sole parents also rated their overall general health as fair or poor, compared with only 8.3 percent of partnered parents.

Feelings of loneliness were also higher, with 35 percent of sole parents having felt lonely at least some of the time in the last four weeks. One in nine reported having felt lonely most or all the time.

When compared with the total population, sole parents were nearly twice as likely to have experienced discrimination in the last 12 months; less likely to report feeling safe or very safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark; and more likely to report lower levels of trust.

Sole parents more likely to live in dwellings with major damp, mould, or cold

Housing quality was also more of an issue for sole parents, with the proportions reporting a major problem with dampness or mould and with heating or keeping their house warm in winter around three times those of other New Zealanders.

“Housing quality is an important factor influencing both mental and physical health outcomes of household members,” Dr Bretherton said. “Housing conditions, and the neighbourhood in which a child is raised, have been shown to affect a child’s overall wellbeing.”


“All of these difficulties impact on not just the individual themselves but also their wider family,” Dr Bretherton said. Just under one-quarter of sole parents gave a low rating (0–6 out of 10) when asked about their family wellbeing, compared with 10 percent of partnered parents of dependent children.

About the data

Stats NZ collected this information as part of a wellbeing supplement added to the household labour force survey in the June 2020 quarter. The supplement included a selection of questions from the general social survey, which has been delayed until April 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stats NZ will continue collecting information through the supplement until the March 2021 quarter.