Boost in jobs for Bay as economy keeps climbing

By Cassandra Mason

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Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, middle, said it was possible the spike in jobs listings in Hastings could be attributed to a strong rural sector. Photo / Duncan Brown
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, middle, said it was possible the spike in jobs listings in Hastings could be attributed to a strong rural sector. Photo / Duncan Brown

Job listings in Hastings are up nearly 25 per cent, with growth in agriculture and transport leading the way.

The Trade Me Jobs employment survey for April to June shows the whole country enjoyed high job growth, encouraging people to stay here rather than pack up for Australia.

Listings in Hastings jumped 24 per cent to 458 compared with the same period last year, while Napier flatlined at 398.

Jobs in transport and agriculture were the fastest growing sectors in Hastings, while Napier experienced a drop in hospitality and retail, offset by growth in transport and office work, the report showed.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was possible the spike in jobs listings in Hastings could be attributed to a strong rural sector.

Hastings farmers had seen favourable growing conditions in the past year; the horticultural and viticultural sectors were performing well.

"The commercial and rural nature of what drives our economy, particularly in Hastings, has had a very strong 12 months," Mr Yule said.

Hastings listings would be further bolstered with the opening of a Kiwibank call centre at the end of the year, which could bring as many as 200 jobs to the city.

"I imagine they [Kiwibank] would start seeking those positions within the next couple of months.

"We're doing our level best to entice more job opportunities like that to Hastings and the region."

Meanwhile, Napier Mayor Bill Dalton attributed the rise in Hastings jobs to seasonal work.

"Hastings tends to be more seasonal as a town that serves the rural and horticultural sectors, but we're [Napier] stable and will continue to be so."

However, whether there were more job listings in Hastings than in Napier was immaterial to Mr Dalton, who was pleased as long as there were jobs in the region.

The Napier City Council was working hard on initiatives to create jobs, and the employment of a business development manager, who would start work in August, was part of the council's commitment .

According to the most recent Statistics NZ household labour force survey, the employment rate in Hawke's Bay and Gisborne (the percentage of people employed in the working-age population) was 60.8 per cent in the March quarter, down slightly from 61.1 per cent a year earlier.

Director of Pipeline Recruitment in Napier, Ian Beattie, said Hawke's Bay was seeing "real pockets of growth" and in- creasing optimism. Companies leading the way were mostly in IT, telecommunications and engineering.

"[Some] have taken the local market by storm and have had a real growth focus," Mr Beattie said.

Hastings-based broadband provider NOW was a good example of local progress, he said. "They've done very well in Hawke's Bay taking market share off tier one telcos."

The 24 per cent jump in Hastings could perhaps be explained by the fact Hastings had more of a commercial base, while Napier dealt more in tourism, hospitality and retail.

"The drivers in the economies in those cities can be different. That might be part of the difference," Mr Beattie said.

Trade Me Jobs head Peter Osborne said job listings nationwide were up 19per cent on the same period last year, with growth in all regions.

"Growth in listings has been very strong, despite the potential handbrake effect of the unusual combination of Easter and Anzac Day holidays in March, and a Budget that had a cooling effect on the number of jobs advertised in May."

Most advertisers were upbeat, he said.

Improved domestic economic and employment opportunities also contributed to the lowest level of migration to Australia in May, Mr Osborne said. Jobs in the construction sector enjoyed the biggest lift compared with 2013's June quarter (up 39 per cent), followed by trades (32 per cent) and transport (29 per cent).

Demand for skilled workers was still high, with candidates in IT, engineering, construction and legal the most difficult to source. Although all regions enjoyed job growth, Auckland still shone brightly, up 21 per cent, while Canterbury and Wellington maintained their growth trajectories, up 21 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

Number of listings in June quarter

*Hastings: 458 - 24pc increase from June 2013
*Napier: 398 - 0pc increase from June 2013
*National: 50,000 - 19pc increase from June 2013

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- Hawkes Bay Today

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