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Growth in advertised vacancies easing

Growth in advertised vacancies easing

The growth in advertised job vacancies nationwide has eased slightly but the labour market remains tight.

The Department of Labour's May analysis of one day's job vacancies in 25 papers around the country showed an increase of 10% over May 2004. While this is the 17th consecutive monthly increase in the job vacancy index the Department uses to keep informed about labour supply and demand trends, it is the slowest rate of growth in that period.

Department of Labour Deputy Secretary Andrew Crisp says a 10% increase is still significant, but suggests the frenetic pace of job creation and associated growing skill shortages is easing slightly.

The biggest growth in vacancies occurred in April 2004, with a 26% increase over April 2003. In recent months the figure has been around 13%.

Mr Crisp says "Although economic growth and employment growth are slowing, the current levels of skill shortages are expected to continue over the next two years, along with an unemployment rate of around 4%." The job vacancy findings are supported by the Department's quarterly Skills in the Labour Market report for June, which shows that the shortage of unskilled staff is now approaching the level of shortage for skilled staff. This report has also been publicly released today.

Mr Crisp says the short-term outlook is for a continued high level of skill shortages, as high labour force participation rates - 67.6% of the working-age population - and low unemployment combine with falling under-employment to shrink the pool of available labour.

"Employers are still very keen to recruit employees, but the simple fact is that they are not available in the numbers or skills required," he says.

The 10% increase in advertised job vacancies over the year to May 2004 was driven by:

* high overall growth in vacancies for semi-skilled/elementary workers (16%);

* high but easing overall growth in vacancies for highly skilled people (13%);

* offset by zero overall growth in skilled vacancies. This is the first time zero overall growth has been measured for any of the three skill-based measures. The main reason for the decline was an 8% drop in trade vacancies, the first time they have fallen in 17 months. This includes a 28% fall in building trade vacancies, confirming continuing improvements in recruiting conditions in a slowing construction sector. An index of IT vacancies, based on analysis of two key IT vacancy websites, showed an increase of 33% over May 2004, the 15th successive month that growth has exceeded 30%. Growth was strongest in Christchurch at 82%, while Wellington and Auckland recorded 39% and 25% growth respectively.

Regional increases in the index in April 2005, compared with April 2004, are:

Auckland 16%
Bay of Plenty 29%
Canterbury 3%
Gisborne -1%
Hawke's Bay 12%
Manawatu-Wanganui 17%
Marlborough 2%
Nelson -3%
Northland 31%
Otago 3%
Southland 8%
Tasman/West Coast 47%
Taranaki 7%
Waikato 12%
Wellington 19%


* Table of top occupations in terms of growth in advertised vacancies for each region


The full May JVM is available on www.dol.govt.nz/jvm

The full June SLM is available on www.dol.govt.nz/lmr


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