The youth unemployment rate is three times the national average, despite an overall decline in the last quarter.
In the September 2021 quarter, the unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 was 9.6 percent, compared with a national rate of 3.2 percent across the total working age population. The unemployment rate for people aged 25 to 64 is 2.3 percent.
Stats NZ says young people have been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharp annual rises in youth unemployment in the September and December 2020 quarters brought their unemployment rates up to 13.2 and 13.8 percent respectively.
But over the year to the September 2021 quarter, their rate had a "sharp and significant" drop of 3.6 points to 9.6 percent, which brings it close to pre-COVID levels, Stats NZ says.
Why is youth unemployment higher?
One reason the youth unemployment rate is higher than the national average is that those in this age group are a traditional source of seasonal labour, Stats NZ labour market manager Andrew Neal says.
Their labour force participation rate tends to increase in the December and March quarters - during the summer holidays - and then dip in the June and September quarters as more young people return to study.
"A contributing factor to why youth unemployment rates are higher than the national average could be that a lot of unemployed teenagers are in education," Neal says.
"Being in education means only having fixed periods of availability for work, which increases the challenge of finding a suitable job."
In the September 2021 quarter, out of 23,100 unemployed teenagers aged 15 to 19, 12,200 (53 percent) were in education or training. However, amongst older youth - those aged 20 to 24 - who were unemployed, only 20 percent engaged in education and training.
In the year to September 2021, the number of youths who are not in employment, education, or training (NEET) decreased by 6400. Stats NZ says this decrease came largely from youth who weren't in the labour force because of their caregiving responsibilities.
But typically, unemployed young people are often trying to find part-time work.
Out of the 39,400 unemployed in this age group in the September 2021 quarter, 31,600 were looking for a job and the remaining 7800 had a job to start in the next four weeks.
Of these, 13,500 (42.7 percent) were looking for only a part-time job. In addition, 6100 (19.1 percent) were looking for either full or part-time work, while the rest were only looking for full-time work.
Older Kiwis looking for jobs for longer
Young people also tend to be unemployed for short periods, whereas long-term unemployment is higher among those in older age groups.
In the September 2021 quarter, 38.2 percent of unemployed people aged 25 to 64 were looking for work for more than six months, compared with 21.4 percent of unemployed people aged 15 to 24.
But young Māori and Pacific people have a consistently higher unemployment rate than young European people, Stats NZ says. In the September 2021 quarter, the youth unemployment rates were 7.8 percent for Europeans, 15.5 percent for Māori, 11.2 percent for Pacific people, and 9.6 percent for Asian groups.