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 limited local 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)
• Falling beneficiary numbers (i.e. reduced source of potential workers)
• Businesses in Canterbury reporting it is harder to find skilled and unskilled labour
• Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) and Polytechnics not producing graduates at a rate to meet the required demand, though latest data suggests an increase in ITO enrolments
• Increasing levels of immigration – reflecting businesses unable to get workers through the domestic labour market.
There is strong demand for labour - due to the construction sector.
This is shown in:
• Online job vacancies being elevated.
• Growth in job vacancies posted by Work and Income.
• Demand for services offered by the Canterbury Hub being steady.
Demand for construction workers continues to be strong, and this is reinforced in the size of the construction work currently going ahead, as can be seen in the value of work put in place. However, it is difficult to differentiate how much of the work is rebuild activities and how much is new housing developments.
Impacts on labour market
The Canterbury labour market remains 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. 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 latter half of 2014.