Employment forecast to grow by 152,000 over the next three years

On: 11 May 2017

Employment is forecast to increase by about 152,000 over the next three years, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Short-term Employment Forecasts: 2017-20 report.

MBIE’s Manager of Labour Market Trends Nita Zodgekar says the report forecasts that employment will grow by 2.0 per cent on average over the three years to March 2020 across many sectors and regions.

“The forecasts show us that employment, particularly those in highly-skilled occupations, and labour supply growth will remain solid over the three year period,” Ms Zodgekar says.

“Around 94,000 or 61 per cent of the employment growth will be in highly-skilled occupations, such as managers and professionals. The employment growth in highly-skilled occupations (2.9 per cent) is forecast to be greater than the overall rate of growth in employment.

“Demand for skilled workers is forecast to increase by about 19,000, and employment for lower skilled workers will increase by around 40,000 by 2020. Construction and services sectors will continue to boost employment, adding nearly 56,000 workers over the next 2-3 years.”

Construction and utility services (up 32,400) are forecast to make the largest contribution to overall employment growth, followed by the business services (up 23,700) and health and education (up 34,000) sectors.

“This reflects strong construction activity, an ongoing employment shift towards the service sector and net inward migration gains,” says Ms Zodgekar.

The forecasts show that employment will grow in all regions. Growth in the North Island will be highest in the Auckland, Waikato and Wellington regions. In the South Island, Marlborough and Tasman are the highest forecasted growth regions. Auckland will be the strongest growing region overall, employing 67,000 more people by 2020.

Strong employment and labour supply growth will keep unemployment at or below 5 per cent over the next three years. 

The Ministry’s Short-Term Employment Forecasts are updated six-monthly and is unique in providing employment forecast breakdown by regions, major industries, broad occupational groups and skill levels.

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