Unemployment low, but tradies in short supply

JIM SPILLANE: "It has been hard to get a good tradesperson."
JIM SPILLANE: "It has been hard to get a good tradesperson."

South Canterbury has a high proportion of superannuitants and invalid beneficiaries, but a low number of unemployment beneficiaries, the latest census reveals.

Nearly one in four residents, aged over 15, claim superannuation, putting the region at 24.1 per cent, while the national average is 16.8 per cent.

In the region, 2.33 per cent of people derived income over the previous year from the unemployment benefit, compared to 2.92 per cent of people across the country.

People collecting the invalids benefit dropped from 3.89 per cent at the last census to 3.22 per cent. This still put the region significantly higher than rest of New Zealand, at 2.38 per cent.

The census considered income from all sources, so people could have several income sources.

Aoraki Development Business and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said the census statistics matched the statistics around employment she had seen.

"It aligns very well with the other statistics and is not surprising. It is representative of the strong job opportunities that are out there and the low unemployment figures."

She said there were a range of different employment opportunities because the region was not just based on one industry.

"With the projected growth this is the place to be."

Personnel Placements Timaru branch manager Jo Mitchell had noticed the lack of unemployment.

"We have had a high number of temporary assignments coming in since Christmas. There are very few people out of work at the moment.

"There is a real shortage of drivers with heavy traffic licences and qualified builders, builders labourer and hammer-hands. There is real shortage of general labourers also."

Sullivan and Spillane advertised for an industrial electrician in Saturday's's paper. Owner Jim Spillane said it attracted little response.

"It does depend on the position you are advertising but over the past two years we have found we normally only get one or two enquiries if we advertise for a tradesperson. It has always been hard to get a good tradesperson."

The Timaru Herald