3 Nov 2011

Business leader queries Canterbury's unemployment figures

7:50 pm on 3 November 2011

A Canterbury business leader is questioning new jobs figures showing a steep drop in employment in the region.

Statistics New Zealand says 157,000 people were unemployed at the end of September - up 3000 since the end of June, and 7000 more than a year ago.

Those unable to find jobs as a percentage of the workforce rose to 6.6% at the end of September, up from 6.5% three months ago and 6.4% the same time last year.

However, the fall in Canterbury dragged down jobs growth nationally in the September quarter to just 0.2 %.

If Canterbury was excluded from the figures, September quarter employment growth would have been 1.1%.

Chamber disputes figure for quake-hit region

A total of 16,000 jobs vanished in Canterbury in the September quarter, mainly among women.

But the Chamber's Peter Townsend is treating the figures with scepticism.

"I would have expected some change in the numbers of females in the workforce because the big areas that've been impacted are tourism, retail and hospitality. But there's nothing I can read in our community that suggests anything of that scale is going on."

Mr Townsend says 30,000 jobs will be created in Canterbury over the next 12 months due to reconstruction.

Women losing out

Male unemployment fell by 1000 during the September quarter to 79,000, but was 7000 higher than a year ago.

Female unemployment rose by 4000 during the quarter, but was unchanged on a year ago at 78,000.