Labour Market And Economy Strong

October 7, 2016
Iain MacLeod

I am not really into writing dry pieces on the state of the labour market but given the reality that many of you need jobs to secure your resident visas, most of you are not all that familiar with skill demand in the NZ labour market, and your world view is shaped by local conditions in your own countries (affirmative action policies in South Africa and Malaysia, for example), it is worth the effort then to ‘paint a picture’ of the state of things in NZ though to June this year.

It is all looking very encouraging.

Looking at the full report recently issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment who track these things, I have never seen so many ‘hockey sticks’ in their graphs of everything from net migration through labour market participation rates to new fulltime jobs being created.

It is a good time to be an English speaking migrant looking for a job in New Zealand.

Key highlights are:


  • Economic growth in the year ending September 2016 was 3.6% – highest in the developed world
  • In the calendar year to the end of September approximately 78,000 new fulltime jobs have been created. Growth in new jobs is outstripping population growth
  • Average hours worked increased by 5.7% (indications of labour and skill shortages) in the June quarter
  • Record levels of net migration has seen the labour market participation rate expand to its highest level ever i.e. there are more people working than at any point in the past and this number is up by 105,000 people in the year ending June 2016 to around 2.4 million
  • Auckland and Canterbury continue to be the centres of job creation
  • Wages are growing faster than inflation (0.4%) at around 2% net wage growth – so we are becoming incrementally better off
  • Construction drove growth over the first quarter of the year, jobs filled expanding by 4.9 percent.
  • Health care and social assistance (both private and public health care) was up 2.7 percent.
  • Accommodation and food services (14,000 new fulltime jobs) and construction (12,000 new jobs) contributed the most to the increase in the number of filled jobs over the year to June 2016
  • Business confidence remains high with all sectors of the economy expanding from services to manufacturing to horticulture. The one gloomy industry in recent times has been dairy with low farm-gate prices over the past two years also turning around in recent weeks with auction prices up around 30% across the board

Tourism numbers continue to surge particularly from China and more airlines than ever are flying into the country – American and United are once again flying into the city and on an almost weekly basis a new Asian airline touches down.

Auckland continues to groan under the pressure of these tourists with not enough hotels being built to accommodate them all. Nice problem to have.

We are about to kick off the busiest cruise ship season ever with around 100 cruise liners expected to tie up in downtown Auckland.

Major roading and infrastructure projects are now coming online across Auckland with the last piece of our extensive new freeway network set to open by year’s end transforming the travel times across this city (not before time) and driving urban and commercial growth away from the central isthmus.

It is all go!

Told you it was dry, but at least it’s a happening little corner of the world.

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