15 Jul 2013

Auckland job creation lags behind economic growth

7:28 am on 15 July 2013

Rising home sales and construction are pushing economic growth in Auckland faster than the rest of the country, but job creation continues to lag.

Auckland Council's quarterly review shows the region's GDP rose by 3.2% in the 12 months to the end of March, slightly ahead of the rest of the country's 3.1%.

Strengths include the real estate and finance sectors, and consents for new homes over a 12 month period have reached a five year high at 5000.

But the council's chief economist Geoff Cooper says job creation has been slow with unemployment at 7.3% compared with the rest of the country's 6.1%.

He says Auckland's unemployment rate is higher than the national rate and that's magnified for younger people because they have less experience and are often the first people to be let go in a tough labour market.

Mr Cooper says unemployment is 28.6% for 15 to 19-year-olds.

He says although businesses are signalling that they intend to hire staff, the economic activity doesn't come through causing a divergence between what businesses expect to do and what they are actually experiencing.

Mr Cooper says employment growth is not keeping up with population growth, although Auckland is at least seeing some employment growth.

He says there is some cause for optimism and the hiring intentions of businesses are now being coupled with economic activity, so it would be expected that more employment should start to come through.

Mr Cooper says one of the most sluggish sectors has been manufacturing, especially firms focussed on exports.