Short-term employment prospects: 2014-2016

13 Mar 2014

Employment prospects over the 3 years to March 2016 are presented in this report. These employment forecasts will be used to inform the Ministry’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 strongly in response to stronger economic growth associated mainly with the Canterbury rebuild over the next three years and peaking in the year to March 2015.

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 increased steadily in the second half of 2013 calendar year, and is forecast to grow by 2.6% (or 58,300) between 2013 and 2014 year to March, by 2.7% (or 61,500) between 2014 and 2015 year to March and by 2.6% (or 60,900) between 2015 and 2016 year to March
  • The unemployment rate is expected to trend down gradually, falling to 5.9% by March quarter 2014 then declining sharply to 5.0% by March quarter 2015 and dropping further to 4.8% by March quarter 2016
  • Strong employment growth is expected in the construction and utilities industries over the next 3 years
  • Growth in demand for employment in highly skilled jobs (managers and professionals across a number of areas) will be higher than the overall employment growth. It will be at or above 3.3% per annum over the forecast period and hence accounting for over 50% of the overall employment growth over the next 3 years
  • Opportunities for lower-skilled workers are expected to account for about 30% of the employment growth over the period. The food processing, retailing, accommodation, business services 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 has strengthened compared to six months ago and with lower downside risk. The uncertainty and concerns that the Eurozone may fall into recession have diminished with positive albeit small growth reported. The prospects for growth in the US have improved while weakening somewhat in China and in Australia over the short term. This is not expected to dampen New Zealand’s export demand and returns, and the Canterbury rebuild will provide the strongest growth stimulus.
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