An underutilised person may be unemployed, underemployed (wanting more hours), an unavailable jobseeker, or an available potential jobseeker. Those who were not economically active were at 15 million.
Still, business confidence this week fell to its lowest level in two-years after New Zealand's recent general election, which eventually saw a Labour-led coalition replace the former center-right government, which had been in power for almost a decade.
The official unemployment rate remained unchanged quarter-to-quarter at 27,7%, however this is still 0,6 of a percentage point higher compared to the same period past year.
Stats NZ's labour market data also included the labour cost index, which showed private sector wage inflation rose 0.7 per cent in the quarter for a 1.9 per cent annual increase.
The jobless rate came in at 27.7 percent in the third quarter, the same rate as in the second quarter.
The participation rate rose to 71.1 per cent from 70 per cent in June as 54,000 more people entered the workforce, and marked a record. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent, the lowest since the fourth quarter of 2008, from 4.8 percent the previous quarter, beating analysts' expectations of 4.7 percent.
The survey found that there were large disparities in the labour market with women having a higher unemployment rate than men.
In the year to the September 2017 quarter, unadjusted filled jobs, as measured by the quarterly employment survey (QES), increased 2.5 percent (up 46,300 jobs). Economists had expected a 0.8 percent quarterly gain.
South Africa's youth, (aged 15-34) remain the most vulnerable in the labour market. "We look forward to playing a full part in any review of New Zealand's official measures of unemployment, as specified in the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First".
Statistics NZ said the figures were significantly affected by care and support workers' pay equity settlement.
The net quarter on quarter increase of 92 000 in employment were driven by the finance sector which grew by 68 000 mainly driven by business activities, as well as architectural, engineering and other technical activities.
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