The manufacturing sector has seen a significant decline in the number of people employed since 2006, according to a Royal Society of New Zealand Review.

The report titled Our Futures, Te Pae Tawhiti summarised major trends which had emerged from the 2006 and 2013 censuses, including trends in work and employment.

In 2006, manufacturing was the biggest employment sector in New Zealand with 11.6 per cent of people employed in the sector. The 2013 Census revealed that this figure had dropped to 9.8 per cent of the population, with 29,472 fewer people employed in the sector since 2006.

The drop in manufacturing jobs was highlighted last month when electromagnetic manufacturing company Buckley Systems announced the potential loss of 36 jobs from its Mount Wellington site.


Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union lead organiser Ahlene Mckee said the move was anticipated.

"This is [sad] but unfortunately it's not unexpected," McKee said. "With a drop in orders and the exchange rate continuing to punish Kiwi manufacturers, the company is having to make some hard decisions."

Technology Investment Network managing director and industry commentator Greg Shanahan said some manufacturing companies were doing well but that job losses in the sector could also be a result of several of the larger firms moving some of their manufacturing work overseas.

"In the [companies that we look at], the drop-off that we saw at the start of the global financial crisis seems to have abated, although in the past week we have seen job losses."