Executive summary: This report provides an outline of the latest employment demand and supply information available on the Canterbury rebuild and wider recovery, in order to inform decision-making and provide an update of the progress on the rebuild.
The main findings are:
There is strong demand for labour – driven by the needs of the construction sector.
This is shown in:
- Continued growth in online job vacancies, particularly for construction and engineering.
- Growth in job vacancies posted by Work and Income.
- Consistent demand for services offered by the Canterbury Hub.
There is limited supply of labour
This is shown in:
- Latest labour force statistics showing very low unemployment in the region (i.e. reduced source of potential workers).
- Increasing levels of immigration – reflecting businesses unable to get workers through the domestic labour market
- Falling beneficiary numbers (i.e. reduced source of potential workers).
- Industry Training Organisations and Polytechnics are not producing graduates at a rate to meet the required demand.
Impacts on labour market
The Canterbury labour market is tight, with low unemployment, and strong demand for labour. In these situations we would normally expect to see a significant increase in the cost of labour. While the construction industry labour costs are increasing, they are not increasing at a rate that would offset increases in living costs over the same period. This suggests that either construction labour increases have yet to hit the market, or that prices have been kept low through some other means, such as immigrants. We would expect that, due to high living costs, and the additional demand for the construction sector when the rebuild hits full swing, prices are likely to increase at a greater rate over the next year.