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Skill shortages easing; labour market still tight

02 February 2006

Skill shortages easing; labour market still tight

There were four per cent fewer jobs advertised in December 2005 compared with the year before, but skill shortages remained high, according to the Department of Labour.

Acting Deputy Secretary Martin Scott said while labour shortages have eased from the 30-year peaks of late 2004 and early 2005, they continue to be high across a range of trades and professional occupations.

The Department's Job Vacancy Monitor measured an average of 6,319 vacancies in total in the last two months of 2005, which was 1,703 more than in the two last months of 2002. "The level of vacancies remains high - there were 23 per cent more advertised vacancies in December 2005 than in January 2003," Mr Scott said.

"Our analysis shows that the labour market is still strong and employment is likely to continue growing through 2006."

The report was in line with findings in the Department's quarterly Skills in the Labour Market report, which showed in December that a shortage of labour remained a constraint on economic growth.

Mr Scott said levels of shortage tended to vary between trades and professions.

"Trade shortages are more acute than those in the professions."

There were also differences within occupational groups.

"Within the highly-skilled occupational group, the number of job vacancies for business and legal professionals grew 4 per cent in December, whereas vacancies for health professionals fell 11 per cent."

"Overall, skill shortages are expected to ease slightly this year. But with unemployment at 3.4 per cent, the labour market will remain tight for some time," Mr Scott said.

The Job Vacancy Monitor is a monthly, one-day analysis of job vacancies advertised in 25 newspapers and selected websites.

Regional information

Year-on-year regional changes in the number of advertised vacancies in December 2005 (compared with year-on-year regional increases in November 2005) are shown below.

Please note that national growth rates are based on a 3-month moving average while regional growth rates are based on a 12-month moving average.

Change December 2004 Change November 2004 to December 2005 to November 2005

Auckland -4% -2%

Bay of Plenty 22% 26%

Canterbury 5% 4%

Gisborne 27% 16%

Hawke's Bay 5% 6%

Manawatu-Wanganui 9% 10%

Marlborough 0% 3%

Nelson/Tasman -13% -14%

Northland 29% 34%

Otago 6% 9%

Southland 7% 9%

Taranaki 21% 25%

West Coast 47% 41%

Waikato 8% 8%

Wellington 11% 12%

Note: The full December Job Vacancy Monitor is available on:

The Skills in the Labour Market report is available on:


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