Delineating functional labour market areas with estimable classification stabilities



• This paper documents a method for defining ‘functional labour market areas’: areas in which most residents work locally and most jobs are filled by local residents. 

• The method we use has some advantages over methods previously used in New Zealand. These include the fact that it does not require much ‘supervision’ to apply, and that it produces indicators of how robust the definitions are.

• We use historical NZ census data on commuting flows to illustrate the method and to summarise changing labour market boundaries from 2001 to 2013.

• The data and code used in the paper are available to download.




Davies, B, D C Maré. 2020. “Delineating functional labour market areas with estimable classification stabilities” Motu Working Paper 20-08. Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Wellington, New Zealand.


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