The Top of the South appears to be bucking the national trend of increased unemployment, as summer tourism and viticulture work increases.
The unemployment rate in the Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough, West Coast region has progressively dropped this year, the latest household labour force survey shows.
While the national unemployment rate is at a 13-year high of 7.3 per cent, with 175,000 people unemployed, the rate in the Top of the South regions is 4.5 per cent.
In Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough and West Coast, the unemployment rate has fallen from 5.9 in March, to 4.7 in June and to 4.5 per cent in September. However, that is up on September 2011, when it was 3.9 per cent.
The latest unemployment statistics showed 219 people living in Marlborough received the unemployment benefit in September, a 5.9 per cent decrease compared with September last year.
Wine Marlborough labour co-ordinator Claire Wilson said they struggled to find enough people to fill pruning and wrapping jobs during winter.
However, she has had no problem finding backpackers and university students keen to work during summer, she said.
"It is starting to ramp up for summer and the roles are being filled by backpackers keen to work and, from here on in, I'll start placing uni students."
Social Development Ministry regional commissioner Lynne Williams said Marlborough Work and Income had placed fewer people into employment during the last two months, compared with the same time last year, because of the slow start to summer.
"We are seeing a much quieter retail and hospitality sector compared to the same time last year, and this is exacerbated by the cooler weather, which has meant a late start to viticulture summer work," she said.
Marlborough Express general manager Vanessa Watson said the volume of employment ads had increased during the year ended October 2012, compared with the previous year.
Economic commentator Tony Alexander says in his weekly column in the Express that the household labour force survey is notoriously unreliable.
"Our caution regarding the accuracy of the numbers is enhanced, because no other indicator agrees with the jobs weakness reported."
Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough, West Coast regions:
Unemployment rate 4.5 per cent equals 4400 unemployed workers.
National: Unemployment 7.3 per cent, 175,000 unemployed
Source: Household labour force survey
- The Marlborough Express