The share of workers aged 65 years and over is projected to grow from 12 percent in 2006 to 21 percent in 2061, Statistics New Zealand said today.
This is indicated by the mid-range projection (series 5M), one of nine alternative labour force projections released. "The number of people aged 65 years and older in the workforce is increasing significantly. This is a direct result of changing attitudes to retirement and increased flexibility in the retirement age, along with increasing life expectancy and well-being in the older ages," Population Statistics manager Denise McGregor said.
The labour force aged 65 years and over increased from 25,000 in 1991 to 62,000 in 2006, and is projected to reach 240,000 in 2031 and 300,000 during the late 2050s. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and over who are in the labour force increased from 6 percent in 1991 to 12 percent in 2006, and is assumed to peak at 23 percent in 2028.
"The updated projections continue to confirm the increasingly important role of the older labour force in the future labour market," Mrs McGregor said.
However, the number of people aged 65 years and over who are not in the labour force will almost double from 450,000 in 2006 to 830,000 in 2031, and then increase to 1.13 million in 2061.
New Zealand's total labour force is projected to increase from an estimated 2.24 million at 30 June 2006 to 2.75 million in 2031 and 3.00 million in 2061. The projections indicate a decelerating growth rate in the labour force, which is projected to grow by an average of 38,000 a year between 2006 and 2011.
Further average growth of 23,000 a year is projected between 2011 and 2016. However, subsequent growth continues to decline for the remainder of the projection period with an average growth of only 5,000 a year between 2056 and 2061. Half of the labour force will be older than 42 years in 2011, compared with a median age of 40 years in 2006 and 36 years in 1991.
The labour force comprises people aged 15 years and over who regularly work for one or more hours per week for financial gain, or work without pay in a family business, or are unemployed and actively seeking part-time or full-time work.