New Zealand’s official unemployment rate has held steady at a record low of 3.2 per cent for the March quarter.
According to Statistics New Zealand, the unemployment rate for the Tasman / Nelson / Marlborough / West Coast region was also 3.2%.
Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne said while the West Coast’s unemployment rate will be higher than this, “the region has been experiencing strong employment growth.”
Over the past year there has been 278 new filled jobs on the West Coast. Job numbers jumped from 14,559 in March 2021 to 14,837 in March 2022, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Over the same period there has been a drop in Jobseeker recipients - with 81 less Coasters receiving Jobseeker benefits. According to the Ministry of Social Development, Jobseeker recipient numbers fell from 1,536 in March 2021 to 1,455 in March 2022,
A recent report from TradeMe showed job listings on the West Coast have risen by 29 percent in the first three months of this year – the second highest growth rate in the country.
“The jump in job listings on Trade Me, and fall in job applications, is in line with what we are seeing and hearing from local businesses. Many are struggling to fill both skilled and unskilled positions,” says Mr Milne.
“At a time when the region is experiencing a rise in demand for workers, we are facing labour shortages.
“The return of migrant workers with the opening of the borders will bring some relief.”
However, Mr Milne says a new work visa by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) may add more complications to the hiring process for West Coast businesses, as well as additional costs.
INZ is replacing three visas - the essential skills, the talent (accredited employer) work and the long-term skill shortage list - with the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV).
Employers bringing migrant workers into New Zealand will have to be accredited for the AEWV, starting in July.
“It is important that Coast businesses who hire migrant workers are prepared for the changes coming,” Mr Milne says.
INZ is hosting a free webinar on AEWV on 18 May at 11am.