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New Zealand jobs, 1976 - 1996: A demographic accounting

Over the last decade or so New Zealand has been through an era of radical political, economic, social and demographic change. In part this has been driven by economic restructuring. But in part, this had been an acceleration of a long-term industrial transformation, which had been a part of New Zealand culture for some time (Thompson 1985). This has taken the form of a long-term shift of employment out of the secondary sector and into the tertiary sector industries. Moreover, in the post-war period there has been a gradual further decline in the proportion of jobs in the primary sectors despite continuous economic improvements of agricultural activities. This is demonstrated proportionately more in terms of its contribution to exports and to the distribution of Gross Domestic Production across sectors, than in high percentages of the labour force in the primary sector. In this and other ways, New Zealand has been subject to the structural changes experienced by other developed countries. The major difference has been the speed of the policy-driven restructuring over the last decade in New Zealand. This paper turns to some basic accounting methods to analyse increases and decreases in job numbers by industrial sector between 1976 and 1996. Analysis by gender, ethnicity and broad age groups will provide a more detailed picture of the major movements. Secondly, in order to assess whether there are gaps between employment and supply, these increases and decreases will be compared with data which indicate levels of "demographic supply". These data give, as it were, an "expected" figure for change in the numbers in each category. and this can be compared with the "observed" figures. Demographic supply is defined here as the percentage growth between the periods analysed in the population at working ages (15-64 years). This paper also looks at the proportionate shifts between censuses in the number of workers by age, gender and ethnicity in a particular industry or broad sector. This analysis is strengthened by comparing the observed "gains and losses" which might have been expected through natural growth and attrition. What these data imply, therefore, is whether or not the labour market is dysfunctional in the way it can respond to a combination of gains and losses because of under- and over-supply of workers, plus the absorptive capacity of a given segment of the labour market.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Population Studies Centre (PSC) Discussion Papers
Honey, J. (2001). New Zealand jobs, 1976 - 1996: A demographic accounting. (Population Studies Centre Discussion Paper No.40). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Population Studies Centre.
University of Waikato, Population Studies Centre