Workforce up by 10,000

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014

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The South Canterbury workforce has increased by almost 10,000 people in the past five years, with more than 12,000 extra people in the working-age population of 15 and above.

A Statistics New Zealand survey showed South Canterbury had more than 30,000 people employed for the past three quarters, which made it the nine-month period with the highest numbers employed in the past five years.

The June 2014 quarter had 31,900 people employed, which made it the second-highest quarter since 2009.

That was up by 1000 on the March 2014 quarter.

The June 2011 quarter had 35,800 people employed in South Canterbury, the highest number of people working in any quarter covered by the survey.

However, that was the quarter directly after the major earthquakes in Christchurch when there was an influx of quake refugees to South Canterbury.

Numbers dropped significantly, to 28,500, by the next quarter.

The June 2009 quarter had the lowest number of people employed in the region, at 22,200.

The September 2010 quarter proved to be an unexplained anomaly, with an increase of almost 6000 people to the workforce from the previous quarter, followed by a drop of 3000 in the next quarter.

The March 2014 quarter clocked the lowest recorded unemployment rate, at just 3.2 per cent.

The December 2010 quarter had 7.4 per cent unemployment in the region, which was the highest.

However, the unemployment figures for the most recent quarter and five others surveyed were suppressed because of high sampling errors.

Nationally, the figures showed unemployment had fallen to 5.6 per cent - its lowest level since the March 2009 quarter.

The survey showed the number of people employed in New Zealand has increased by 83,000 during the past year.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said this was a result of the New Zealand economy recovering from the global financial crisis and the Christchurch earthquakes. "The challenge now is to continue to build on this momentum so we have consistent and sustained economic performance that really lifts the opportunities for and incomes of New Zealanders over the longer term," Joyce said.

New Zealand's unemployment rate continues to be lower than most OECD countries and is now the ninth-lowest in the OECD. It is better than those of Australia, the United States and Britain.

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- The Timaru Herald

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