Short-term employment prospects: 2013-2016

Employment New Zealand
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This forecast of employment prospects in New Zealand suggests overall employment demand is rising in response to stronger economic growth.


Employment prospects over the next 3 years to March 2016 are presented in this report which is an update on the employment prospects to March 2015 assessed in late 2012. These employment forecasts will be used to inform the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s advice relating to immigration priorities, and priority setting for tertiary education and industry training over the next 2-3 years. The forecasts suggest overall employment demand rising in response to stronger economic growth associated mainly with the Canterbury rebuild over the next three years and peaking in the 2015 year to March.

The Ministry uses a short-term forecasting model that draws on the latest macroeconomic forecasts by the Treasury, to provide more detailed information on the labour market covering employment in broad industries, occupations or high-level grouping of skills and for regions.

Key points

  • Employment will increase gradually, growing by 1.3% (or 28,400) between 2013 and 2014 year to March, by 2.3% (or 52,300) between 2014 and 2015 year to March and by 2.1% (or 49,500) between 2015 and 2016 year to March
  • The unemployment rate is expected to trend down slowly, falling to 6.0% by March quarter 2014 down to 5.7% by March quarter 2015 and decline below 5% by March quarter 2016
  • Strong employment growth is expected in the construction and utilities industries over the next 3 years while the prospects for employment in other industries vary over time
  • Growth in demand for employment in highly skilled jobs (that is, managers and professionals across a number of areas) will be consistently high over the forecast period, accounting for about 50% of the overall employment growth
  • Opportunities for lower-skilled workers are expected to account for about 35% of the employment growth over the period. The food processing, retailing, accommodation, agriculture and construction industries are expected to create most of these opportunities 
  • Employment growth will be strongest mainly in the Auckland and Canterbury regions
  • The global economic outlook is much better than six months ago with lower downside risk. The uncertainty and concerns that the Eurozone may fall into recession have diminished. The prospects for growth in the US have strengthened while weakening somewhat in Australia and China. This could dampen New Zealand’s export demand and returns, although the Canterbury rebuild will provide a strong growth stimulus for the economy.
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