Labour market statistics (disability) as at the June 2022 quarter

Last year in August, Statistics New Zealand published data comparisons between labour market measures for disabled and non-disabled people in New Zealand .

Information included labour market participation and employment rates as well as differences in wages and salaries received.

This data is an indicator for Outcome 2 of the New Zealand Disability Strategy (Employment and Economic Security). It quantifies the challenges of many disabled people in Aotearoa in achieving security in their economic situation and achieving their potential and shows that there is still much work to do.

Disparity in income

  • The median weekly income (from all sources) for disabled people aged 15–64 years old was $451, compared to $1,000 for non-disabled people in the same age group.

Main activity for disabled people

  • Among people who are not in the labour force in 2022, the main activity for disabled people was self-care, while the main activity of non-disabled people was study or training.

Progress among young disabled people

  • There is a substantial downward trend in the proportion of young disabled people not in employment, education, or training, from 49% to 32% between June 2020 and 2022.

Gap in unemployment rates is reducing

  • Although a gap remains in unemployment rates overall, at 7.9% for disabled people compared to 3.3% for non-disabled people between 15 and 64 years of age, it is reducing.
  • In the June 2021 quarter, the unemployment rate for disabled people aged 15–64 years was 9.6 percent, compared with 4.0 percent for non-disabled people of the same age group.
  • There has also been a significant increase in the employment rates of disabled women over the last two years, from 37.3% to 44.3%.

Government actions to improve employment outcomes for disabled people

  • The NZ Disability Strategy 2016-2026, the Disability Action Plan 2019-2023 and other programmes of work underway have been developed to realise the potential of disabled people, enabling them to enjoy life in Aotearoa in a way that all New Zealanders expect and aspire to achieve.
  • The Action Plan includes programmes such as MSD’s Disability Employment Action Plan launched in August 2020. This action plan ensures disabled people and those with health conditions have an equal opportunity to access good work and is organised around three core objectives:
  • supporting people to steer their own employment futures
  • backing people who want to work (and employers) with the right support, and
  • partnering with industries to increase good work opportunities.
  • Significant progress has been made, for example, on prioritising employment pathways for disabled school leavers and supporting the employment of disabled people in the Public Service.
  • Creating opportunities for employment will make a real difference in the living conditions of disabled people, in turn leading to better outcomes. We saw in the latest General Social Survey (2022), that the quality of living conditions and having enough money comprise two of four key indicators of wellbeing.

 In the June 2022 quarter:

  • the unemployment rate for disabled people aged 15–64 years was 7.9 percent, compared with 3.3 percent for non-disabled people of the same age group
  • the unemployment gap was 4.6 percentage points for 15–64-year-olds (‘gap’ is difference in the unemployment rates for disabled and non-disabled people)
  • only 41.5 percent of disabled 15–64-year-olds were employed, compared with 80.4 percent of non-disabled people in the same age group.

 A graph from the Household Labour Force Survey showing employment rates for disabled and non-disabled people. The data is in the table below



Disabled people (%)

Non-disabled people (%)

Unemployment rate



Employment rate



Labour force participation rate



 Changes in disabled people's employment rates

A graph showing changes in disabled people's employment rates. Data  below



Disabled Men (%)

Disabled Women (%)










 Main activity for those not in the labour force

Graph showing main activity for those not in labour force. Data below                            




Own care due to sickness / injury / disability (%)

Free-time activities (%)

Looking after a child (%)

Study or training (%)

Disabled people





Non-Disabled people





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