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Canterbury’s tight labour market – new report

Canterbury’s tight labour market – new report

Canterbury labour demand is growing at a greater rate than the national average while labour supply is limited, according to the Canterbury Job-Matching Report for the December 2013 quarter released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

MBIE Labour Market and Business Performance Manager David Paterson says there is a strong demand for labour in Canterbury in the last quarter of 2013. This is shown in growth in Canterbury online job vacancies, job vacancies posted by Work and Income, and consistent demand for services offered by the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub.

“The online vacancy growth is largely driven by opportunities in construction and engineering which reflects the pick-up in the Canterbury rebuild,” he says.

The Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub posted 1,623 vacancies in the December quarter across a broad range of roles and skill levels. Work and Income in the Canterbury Region also listed 1,396 positions over this period, including listings from the Hub that are most likely to match with beneficiaries.

At the same time, there is evidence of the supply of labour becoming restricted. The unemployment rate for Canterbury was 3.4 per cent, the lowest since the September 2008 quarter.

The number of people on benefits is also falling. At the end of December, 24,492 Cantabrians were on benefits compared to 28,073 in September 2013, down by 12.8 per cent. This means reduced sources of potential local workers.

Migration into Canterbury is ramping to compensate for the shortages in the domestic labour market. There were 586 work visa arrivals for the rebuild in the December 2013 quarter, up from 562 in the September quarter.

The growing labour demand and limited supply resulted in increasing labour costs, but not at a rate that would offset increases in living costs over the same period.

“We expect that labour prices are likely to increase at a greater rate over the next year due to high living costs and additional labour demand,” says Mr Paterson.


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