Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland job market boom

City's unemployment at lowest level since 2011 with average pay up to $1135 a week.

Manufacturing and construction sectors are adding plenty of jobs to Auckland, where the population is rising steadily. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Manufacturing and construction sectors are adding plenty of jobs to Auckland, where the population is rising steadily. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Auckland unemployment is at its lowest level since 2011 after activity has increased in construction and other sectors.

Geoff Cooper, Auckland Council chief economist, said in his latest economic quarterly that unemployment across the entire city fell from 7.3 per cent in the first quarter to 6.7 per cent from April to June, "the lowest level since 2011".

He found 10,600 jobs were added in Auckland from April to June and said 20,100 more people were employed in the city compared with the same period last year, a big jump.

"Employment growth continued to broaden, job growth in the quarter was concentrated among older males, with the manufacturing and construction sectors both adding significant numbers of jobs in the quarter. The health, property and business services sectors remained key drivers of employment growth as they have been over the past three years," Cooper said in the quarterly, out yesterday.

Hiring intentions also rose because 20 per cent of respondents expected rising employment in the quarter to December. Investments intentions also remain moderately upbeat, Cooper said.

Aucklanders' pay rose from an average $1124 a week real wages in the first quarter to $1135 a week in the second quarter. The rest of the country had an average of $1016 a week in the second quarter.

But average Auckland rents are rising too and are above the rest of the country. Auckland rents were $442 a week in the first quarter but are now $449 a week ($317 nationally).

Cooper also noted how Auckland's real median house sale price rose from $555,000 to $562,000.

Population is rising too. Cooper said that between 2006 and 2012, the number of Auckland residents aged up to 14 years grew by 13,000, filling the equivalent of 27 new schools over the last six years.

Auckland's population is on the rise. Photo / APN
Auckland's population is on the rise. Photo / APN

Big infrastructure jobs dominate the city's economic scene. Cooper said that the Waterview Connection and the City Rail Link were the biggest.

"Earlier this year the Government indicated its financial commitment to a 2020 start date, but stated construction could begin earlier if rail passenger trips and employment growth targets are met sooner," he said of the rail link.

The first growth target is 20 million passengers using the Auckland rail network annually, double the current patronage number, he said.

"Auckland looks likely to meet this target around 2018," Cooper said.

But improvements to the public transport network, including rail electrification, integrated ticketing and the redesign of the bus network to integrate with rail, could mean the target is reached sooner.

"The second target is a 25 per cent increase in Auckland's CBD employment. This looks considerably more challenging," he said, based on the city centre growth rate over the past decade. The target might be reached around 2023.

Developing the city centre as a hub for office-based employment and business and financial services is planned, but global economic conditions will play a part.

- NZ Herald

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