Women lead in job recovery

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2014

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Women and young adults have made a strong come-back in the workforce in 2013, with Canterbury's unemployment rate at its lowest level in six years.

The Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) for the December quarter shows the unemployment rate for the region has plunged to 3.4 per cent, well below last quarter's 4.2 per cent, and a 26 per cent fall from last year's 4.9 per cent.

This means 4700 fewer people are unemployed compared to a year ago

It also shows 19,200 more are employed. A person only has to work an hour a week to be counted as employed.

Canterbury's unemployment rate was almost half of the national rate of 6 per cent.

Economist Robin Clements said Canterbury had reached the point where it would become difficult to reduce the number of unemployed.

"It's probably getting close to a trough because eventually you get to the point where those who are unemployed don't want to be employed, and it becomes harder and harder to take people off the ranks of the unemployed.

"Given the demand for labour that will be ongoing over the next couple of years, that will mean that we'll have to be drawing on workers from outside the region or even outside the country."

In 2013, of the 19,200 more people employed in Canterbury, women accounted for 85 per cent.

The unemployment rate for females has dropped from 6.2 per cent a year ago to 4.7 per cent.

Unemployment has also dropped for people in the 15-24 age group. A year ago, it was at 16.7 per cent - the highest unemployment rate of all age groups.

It dropped to 7.9 per cent, meaning 5300 fewer people are unemployed within this age group compared to a year ago. For the 55+ category, unemployment figures are down to 1.6 per cent, compared to 2.8 per cent a year ago, meaning 1000 fewer people are unemployed.

However, in the 25-54 age group, the biggest group of employed, unemployment has risen to 2.9 per cent from 2 per cent a year ago, meaning 1600 more people are unemployed in that age group.

The increase in Canterbury employment included a 7600 rise in the retail trade, and accommodation and food services industry group and a 7400 rise in the construction industry.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate is down to 6 per cent for the December quarter. This compares with 6.2 per cent in the September quarter and wage rises remain modest.

The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), also released yesterday, surveys businesses to estimate the number of filled jobs, rather than surveying households.

For the December quarter, the QES registered 9400 more jobs in Canterbury compared to the previous year.

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Industries with the largest job growth in Canterbury were construction (up 29.1 per cent) and manufacturing (up 11.3 per cent). Together, these accounted for more than three-quarters of the total rise in filled jobs in the region.

BY THE NUMBERS

Unemployment rate: Canterbury: 3.4 per cent

Wellington: 6 per cent

Auckland: 6.3 per cent

Nationwide: 6 per cent

Employment in Canterbury in December 2013: 19,200 more employed than a year ago

16,300 more women

2900 more men 

- The Press

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