Story: Workforce composition

Percentage of workforce by sector, 1841–2013

The primary (agricultural, forestry and mining) sector of the workforce was the largest in the 19th century, before declining to become the smallest from the 1930s. The secondary (manufacturing) sector has fluctuated over time, overtaking primary industry in the 1930s. The tertiary (services) sector has been the largest for a century and now employs more people than the other two sectors combined.

Using this item

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Sources: Brian Easton, ‘Different kinds of countries and cities.’ Cultures of the Commonwealth: essays and studies 9, (Spring 2003), pp. 25–35; Statistics New Zealand

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How to cite this page:

Paul Callister and Robert Didham, 'Workforce composition - Workforce by sector', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 5 July 2022)

Story by Paul Callister and Robert Didham, published 11 Mar 2010