Canty creates half NZ's new jobs

Canterbury is leading national employment growth, with 34,400 jobs created in the past 12 months.

That was nearly half the number of jobs created across the country in the year to September.

Labour market experts say there are no signs the net increase in numbers is falling off and job opportunities might increase before Christmas.

In the year to September, with Canterbury deep into an earthquake rebuild, the region accounted for almost half the national employment growth, which totalled 72,000.

In the September quarter, the Canterbury unemployment rate was 3.2 per cent, up from the June quarter's rate of 2.8 per cent but down from 4.2 per cent in the September quarter last year.

However, not everyone was able to find work. One man who contacted The Press said since he finished a fly-in, fly-out job in the Australian mining industry in September he had had no luck finding a new job. That was despite a masters degree and having his details listed with many recruitment agencies.

Sectors with the biggest increases in Canterbury in the year to September were construction, with 13,800 more people employed, and the retail trade and accommodation industry, which grew by 7800 workers.

Leanne Crozier, director of human resources company Decipher Group, said there was a steady demand for management-level recruits. About half of the jobs Decipher was recruiting for were new positions.

"If anything, we've seen a pretty steady [demand] and probably even an increase during the year in senior level roles and I can't see it slowing down," she said.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said the addition of 34,400 into the Canterbury workforce represented a 10.6 per cent increase in people employed from a year ago.

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There were more jobs to come, he said.

"We still think the rebuild has got a way to go before it hits the peak. We're looking more towards 2018 for the peak level of activity.

"Even if we get activity peaking in 2016, it's going to hold up at a pretty high level for a while."

Canterbury Development Corporation chief executive Tom Hooper said getting workers into the city had been easier than many businesses initially expected.

Sectors including information technology and agribusiness had been able to get new staff from overseas migrants, he said.

"The early adopters, the entrepreneurs, the kids with higher-risk profiles, that's who is coming here, because all of a sudden that's what's interesting."

Construction wage increases in Canterbury were near the national level. Nationally, annual wage inflation, as measured by the Statistics NZ labour cost index, was 1.6 per cent. Annual salary and wage rate growth, including overtime, in the Canterbury construction industry rose 2.5 per cent.

BY THE NUMBERS

Canterbury employment rose by 34,400 in the year to September.

By comparison, Canterbury employment rose by 6500, or 2 per cent, in the year to September last year.

The jump this year included an additional 13,800 construction jobs. 

 - The Press

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