Labour is the largest input to the productive capacity of the economy. The amount of labour available to be employed – labour supply – is therefore important to understand when gauging inflationary pressure in the economy. However, labour market outcomes are complex. There are considerable differences in outcomes across age cohorts, gender and individuals more generally. In aggregate, New Zealand’s labour force participation has grown since 2000 to a recent all-time high.
In this paper, we delve into the details of labour supply to understand what has been driving New Zealand’s historically unusual outcomes. Furthermore, we put the New Zealand experience into context by comparing post-2000 developments in labour supply across OECD economies.