Friday, June 18, 2010

More than 50,000 jobless in Auckland

About 51,000 Aucklanders are jobless, with job-market observers warning that figure is unlikely to fall any time soon, reports The Aucklander.

The unemployment rate climbed from 5.1 per cent in March 2009 to 7.3 per cent three months ago, the last official figure.

"The largest employment declines in Auckland have occurred in manufacturing, retail trade and construction. In addition, there has been a decline in employment in the financial and insurance service industry," says Benedikte Jensen, the Government's Labour Market Information head.

She says the labour market is not yet as robust as before.

"While employment is expected to recover in many of these industries, it is important to understand that because many of these sectors were severely affected during the downturn, it will be some time before activity and employment levels return to pre-recession levels," she says.

At the start of the year, only 38 per cent of businesses surveyed by the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association thought they would hire permanent staff by the second half of the year - in other words, the next few months.

"My key message here is that it's improving but it's still very patchy," says David Lowe, EMA's employment services manager.

In the short term, more salespeople will be needed than administrators. "It's not unexpected that when businesses recover the first area they look for is sales to grow their businesses," he says. "Once they begin to generate work, obviously they need to get staff to look after the business."

Heather Walker, director of the NZ JobSquad and Mana Recruitment, says more jobs are being advertised, both online and in print. "Top shortages have been reported as IT consultants, engineering managers, nurses and midwives, local government staff and solicitors."

Mr Lowe says employers may be needing tradespeople as soon as the recession eases. "We are saying to businesses, if they think they are going to need these people in the next little while, they should think about actually getting them now so they get the pick of the bunch."

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