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Solid employment growth ahead – report

Good news if you're a job-hunter: employment is forecast to increase by around 93,700 jobs over the next two years.

Good news if you're a job-hunter: employment is forecast to increase by around 93,700 jobs over the next two years.

According to the first report in a new labour market forecasting series issued by the Department of Labour today, which draws on the latest macroeconomic forecasts by the Treasury and the Reserve Bank, the economy will add 1.8 percent (or 39,600 jobs) in the year to March 2013 and 2.4 percent (54,100 jobs) in the year to March 2014.

General manager of the Labour and Immigration Research Centre, Vasantha Krishnan, says the model reports on 11 regions, 28 industries and 96 occupational groups, and allows them to forecast employment growth breakdowns by region, industry and skill level.

“Overall, our view is one of slow, steady growth in employment. We would also caution that our forecasts are based on current data and actual job growth will of course be influenced by what is happening in the global economy and by the pace of the Canterbury rebuild,” she said.

“It is important to note also that this projected employment growth excludes job opportunities that will arise as older workers retire. The Department estimates the job opportunities as a result of people retiring is likely to be about 50,000 jobs annually over the coming years. This means that while 24,000 new jobs could be created in the March 2012 year, another 50,000 people may be required to replace those retiring.” 

According to the forecast, the unemployment rate is expected to trend down slowly over the entire period, to below 6 percent by March 2013 and 5.4 percent by March 2014. 

Strong growth is expected in the primary processing, construction and utilities industries, and will be strongest in highly skilled jobs (that is, managers and professionals). Opportunities for lower-skilled workers are expected to account for more than one-third of the employment growth over the period. The food processing, retailing, accommodation, agriculture and construction industries are expected to create most of these opportunities.