Fewer businesses but more workers

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 08:51 19/11/2012

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The number of businesses in Christchurch dropped by fewer than 1000 in the year after the February 2011 earthquake and employee numbers rose, government figures show.

Information from Inland Revenue shows that before the quakes there were 37,340 businesses in Christchurch. That number has dropped to 36,400 - a drop of just 2.5 per cent.

During a briefing on the changing business demographics in Christchurch last week, city councillors were told the CBD had seen a 34.6 per cent decline in businesses and a 38.4 per cent decline in employees. However, overall, businesses had shown resilience through the quakes.

Despite the damage in the eastern suburbs, business numbers there had dropped by only 1.7 per cent and employee numbers had barely changed.

In the western suburbs, the number of businesses had risen by 6.1 per cent while employee numbers had risen by 15.9 per cent.

Businesses within the hospitality sector had been the hardest hit. The number of cafes and restaurants was down 19.1 per cent while the number of pubs, taverns and bars was down 13.5 per cent.

Accommodation businesses were down 8.8 per cent but employee numbers were down by nearly 36 per cent.

Statistics New Zealand business, financial and trade manager Louise Holmes- Oliver told councillors the drop in businesses and staff numbers in the hospitality sector had been countered, to a large extent, by a 10 per cent increase in construction and related businesses.

Councillors were also briefed on the population impacts.

Statistics New Zealand demographer Kim Dunstan said the quakes had caused some "demographic shocks".

After more than 150 years of steady population growth, the Christchurch population had dropped by 13,500 in the past two years.

However, Dunstan said many of those people had moved only as far as neighbouring districts.

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- The Press

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