Household labour force survey results - June 2020

Statistics NZ has released the results from the June 2020 household labour force survey, including employment and wellbeing data.

This is important data and responds to the concerns expressed by disabled people and their representative organisations for government to provide regular data and information on how disabled people are progressing across important areas of their lives.

The data released is a combination of employment data and wellbeing data.

Although the newly released well-being data shows that disparities continue to exist between disabled and non-disabled people, apart from loneliness and self-rated general health status, there have been improvements across all other domains of wellbeing compared to the previous wellbeing survey (General Social Survey 2016). Improvements are seen, in particular, in the trust held in the health system and trust held in Parliament. (A summary of the well-being data is included below) 

The newly released data tells us that there is still much work to do. The NZ Disability Strategy, the Disability Action Plan 2019-2023 and other programmes of work underway have been developed to increasingly realise the potential of disabled people, remove barriers to full participation in work, and enjoy life in Aotearoa in a way that all other New Zealanders expect and aspire to.


From the June 2020 quarter until the March 2021 quarter, Statistics NZ is including a selection of wellbeing questions as part of a supplement to the household labour force survey (HLFS).

  • Compared to the previous wellbeing surveys (GSS 2016 and 2018), there was a general improvement in wellbeing for disabled people in June of 2020 across most aspects of wellbeing. In particular, improvements are seen in trust held for the health system (65% providing a rating of 7 and above compared to 55% in 2018) and trust held for parliament (49% providing a rating of 7 and above compared to 35% in 2018).
  • Disabled people continue to have much poorer wellbeing outcomes than non-disabled people across majority of wellbeing domains. For instance:
    • One in four disabled people gave a low life-worthwhile rating (between 0 and 6), compared with one in nine non-disabled people.
    • Disabled people were among those with significantly higher levels of poor mental wellbeing (36% compared to 17.2% of non-disabled people).
    • Particular disparities are seen for disabled people aged 18-64 including:
      • Being more likely to experience discrimination (30% compared to 19% of non-disabled people)
      • Being more likely to report not having enough money to meet every day needs (23% compared to 7% of non-disabled people)
      • Being more likely to report poor overall mental wellbeing (46% compared to 19% of non-disabled people)
      • A larger proportion of disabled people (11%) received help from an organisation such as a church or foodbank in the last 12 months at least once, compared to non-disabled people (4%).

More information can be found here:

Labour market statistics 

  • Disparities in labour market statistics continue to exist for disabled people compared to non-disabled people, across most domains of employment. This includes:
    • 22.5 percent of disabled people were employed compared to 69.8% of non-disabled people
    • the unemployment rate for disabled people was 8.6 percent, compared with 3.8 percent for non-disabled people
    • disabled people earn less on average and are more likely to have no qualifications.
  • Unemployment rates for disabled people aged 15+ have reduced (a drop from 8.6% the previous year to 7.4%). However unemployment rates for those aged 15-64, and non-disabled people in both age groups have remained relatively stable, indicating that the improvements have mainly occurred for older disabled people.
  • Wages have increased very slightly for disabled people (median income per week increasing from $392 to $402), and has declined for non-disabled people ($748 to $713)
  • Employment rates and labour force participation rates have remained relatively stable for disabled people, with a slight drop in labour force participation rate among disabled people aged 15-64 (45.2% last year to 41.9% this year)
  • Underutilisation and underemployment rates have slightly increased for disabled people compared to the previous year  (19.4% to 21.6% and 10.6% to 11.6% respectively)
  • The percentage of people that reported leaving their last job due to being made redundant/laid off/business having closed has remained stable (6.7% in 2019 and 6.6% in 2020), but has increased for non-disabled people (7.2% to 8.9%).
  • Post-school qualifications have improved for disabled people (35.9% in 2019 to 39.1% in 2020).

More information can be found here:

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