Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland economy - houses being built, but jobs worry

A queue of applicants waiting for job interviews at an Auckland supermarket. Lack of job growth continues to weigh on Auckland's recovery. Photo / Christine Cornege
A queue of applicants waiting for job interviews at an Auckland supermarket. Lack of job growth continues to weigh on Auckland's recovery. Photo / Christine Cornege

Auckland house building activity is rising but unemployment remains high.

Geoff Cooper, Auckland Council's chief economist, said 4764 residential building consents were lodged in the March year.

"While that's down from the 10-year average of 6631, it is up from the year-earlier figure of 3976. This represents the early stages of a construction upswing in Auckland, which will need to continue before house prices ease," he said.

But lack of job growth continues to weigh on Auckland's recovery as unemployment remains high at 7.3 per cent.

"With business employment intentions in positive territory and economic activity looking more sustained, job seekers have more reason for optimism in the year ahead," Cooper said.

He released his latest economic quarterly report this morning, showing gains in 17 out of 20 sectors.

His previous quarterly report, released in April, showed Auckland's economy grew by an annual 2.8 per cent, powered by finance, professional services and a booming real estate sector.

Although the three top-performing sectors were not necessarily employing more people, they were the fastest growing based on their contribution to the region's GDP, Cooper said at the time.

Auckland's population grew by 3875 people annually via migration - excluding natural growth from the existing population - compared with New Zealand's total loss of 5040 people in the year, he found.

An extra one million people are projected to be in Auckland by 2040. Cooper said two-thirds would come from natural growth in the existing population and the rest from migration.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 28 Nov 2014 19:14:25 Processing Time: 275ms