Construction jobs on the decline in Christchurch

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 05:00 20/06/2013

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An online jobs report is revealing a puzzling dip in the number of construction jobs in Canterbury from a year ago.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's "Jobs Online" report for May shows strong growth in job vacancies for IT in Christchurch followed by retail, marketing and advertising when compared with May last year.

But it reveals 6.3 per cent fewer online jobs in the construction and building sector.

MBIE's survey measures vacancies on the two main internet job sites, Seek and Trade Me, providing monthly snapshots of the labour market.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said it could be that the industry was rapidly recruiting and the jobs were "sucking up" the available labour.

"There is no doubt that construction is starting to ramp up," Townsend said.

Raw figures for the numbers of workers in construction would show they were higher than they used to be. He did not think it indicated a downturn in demand.

Simon Worthington, of Research First, and formerly a workforce analyst at the Canterbury Development Corporation, said the data sampled in the survey might be small, causing volatility in it.

"Broadly speaking, what we are seeing in the broader market is a bit of a stutter," Worthington said.

The rebuild was not as fast as some companies had expected and some were uncertain about how much they should gear up.

"For a lot of companies the pace of the recovery they thought they were going to see and the level of procurement hasn't quite met their expectations."

Growth of jobs in other areas - IT and retail and advertising - showed the flow-on effects in the wider Canterbury economy of the rebuild, he said.

The report said overall skilled vacancies in Canterbury were 7.2 per cent higher in May than in the same month last year, a rate of growth that is higher than the national rate of 3.9 per cent.

The higher Canterbury rate was down to IT vacancies being 28.4 per cent higher than a year ago in Canterbury and sales, retail, marketing and advertising were up 13.8 per cent.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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