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Work

Low rates of unemployment

Unemployment rates in greater Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand, at the 2006 and 2013 Censuses, were:

  • greater Christchurch – 4.2 percent (2006), 4.7 percent (2013)
  • New Zealand – 5.1 percent (2006), 7.1 percent (2013).

In 2013, the unemployment rate for the 15–24-year age group was:

  • greater Christchurch – 12.5 percent.
  • New Zealand – 18.4 percent.

Many young people classified as unemployed were actually studying. A commonly used measure is the youth NEET rate (youth aged 15–24 not in employment, education, or training). When we combined those who were unemployed and not studying (2,145) and those not in the labour force who were not studying (3,993) the NEET rate for greater Christchurch was 10.8 percent. This compared with a national NEET rate of 14.6 percent.

Greater Christchurch unemployment was higher for females in the 15–24-year age group than for males.

In 2013, greater Christchurch unemployment rates in the 15–24-year age group were:

  • females – 14.2 percent
  • males – 10.9 percent.

In 2013, NEET rates in the 15–24-year age group were:

  • greater Christchurch females – 12.6 percent
  • greater Christchurch males – 9.3 percent
  • New Zealand females – 16.1 percent
  • New Zealand males – 13.2 percent.

As a percentage of the labour force, 43.1 percent of females in the 15–24-year age group were employed full-time, compared with 63.0 percent of males.

Total unemployment was higher in Christchurch city (5.1 percent) compared with Waimakariri (3.7 percent) or Selwyn (2.9 percent) for people aged 15 years and over.

Labour force status
By age group, for people aged 15 years and over
For greater Christchurch
2006 and 2013 Censuses
Labour force status by age group (years)  2006 Census 2013 Census
Number
Employed
15–24 years 36,360 33,627
25–64 years 174,756 177,426
65 and over 8,043 13,236
Total 219,159 224,289
Unemployed
15–24 years 4,572  4,782
25–64 years 4,950 6,117
65 and over 93 147
Total 9,615  11,052
Not in the labour force(1)
15–24 years 19,566 20,364
25–64 years 39,078 36,441
65 and over 47,139 49,098
Total 105,783 105,900
Percent
Unemployment rate(2)
15–24 years 11.2  12.5
25–64 years 2.8 3.3
65 and over 1.1 1.1
 Total  4.2 4.7
1. See a definition of not in the labour force
2. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people as a percentage of the labour force.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Increase in technicians and trades workers

The number of greater Christchurch technicians and trades workers increased 6.9 percent between 2006 (28,392 people) and 2013 (30,339 people), compared with a 5.8 percent decrease over the same period nationally.

Nearly all the increase in greater Christchurch was among males. Of the 1,947 more technicians and trades workers in 2013, only 66 were female. Despite the overall increase, there was a 31.3 percent decrease in this occupational group for the 15–19-year age group (down from 1,782 in 2006 to 1,224 in 2013).

In 2013, there were 47,235 professionals employed in greater Christchurch – 22.0 percent of all employed people who stated their occupation. This was also the occupational group that showed the largest increase since 2006 (up 14.5 percent or 5,994 people).

Construction becomes largest industry

In 2013, 1 in 8 employed adults (25,764 people) in greater Christchurch worked in the construction industry – up 9,594 (59.3 percent) since 2006. Construction replaced manufacturing (1 in 10 of the workforce in 2013) as the largest industry in greater Christchurch.

In 2013, the most common birthplaces for those working in the construction industry in greater Christchurch were:

  • New Zealand – 81.1 percent of construction workers
  • United Kingdom and Ireland – 9.4 percent
  • Asia – 2.4 percent.

In 2013, 14.5 percent of those working in the construction industry in greater Christchurch were female (3,735 people). This was an increase from 13.1 percent in 2006 (2,112 people).

Other industries to experience growth in the number of workers since 2006 included:

  • health care and social assistance – up 13.4 percent
  • professional, scientific, and technical services – up 14.8 percent
  • public administration and safety – up 29.7 percent.

In line with the national trend, manufacturing showed the largest decline in greater Christchurch, with 4,692 fewer people (down 16.8 percent).

Graph, Major industry groups for employed people, 15 years and over in greater Christchurch, 2006 and 2013 Censuses.

Half of recent arrivals from Ireland and Brazil work in construction

At the 2013 Census, of the overseas-born people living in greater Christchurch who arrived in New Zealand since the 2010–11 earthquakes and stated the industry they worked in:

  • around half those born in Ireland (51.5 percent) and Brazil (47.8 percent) were working in construction
  • around a quarter of those born in England (22.4 percent), the Philippines (24.5 percent), and Scotland (29.3 percent) were working in construction.
Overseas-born people working in the construction industry, by years since arrival in New Zealand
For greater Christchurch employed people aged 15 years and over
2013 Census
Country of birth In New Zealand two years or less In New Zealand three years or more
Working in construction  Total from country Percent in construction Working in construction  Total from country Percent in construction
Ireland 357  693 51.5 78 417 18.7
England 285   1,275 22.4 1,317 12,714 10.4
Philippines  171  699 24.5 63 1,617 3.9
Scotland   51 174 29.3 132 1,509 8.7
Australia 42 339 12.4 405 3,309 12.2
South Africa 39  246 15.9 183 1,965 9.3
Brazil  33 69 47.8 48 171 28.1
India 21 666 3.2  15 1,053 1.4
Northern Ireland 18 60 30.0 30 276 10.9
Germany 18 138 13.0 54 687 7.9

Note: The numbers is this table are for those who stated their industry of employment.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Decline in central Christchurch city workers

The number of people working in central Christchurch city (within the four avenues) halved between 2006 and 2013.

In 2013, 19,419 adults who lived in greater Christchurch worked within the four avenues, which was a decrease from 39,213 people in 2006. This included decreases of:

  • 4,719 clerical and administrative workers (down 64.2 percent)
  • 4,041 professionals (down 35.4 percent)
  • 3,477 managers (down 57.4 percent)
  • 2,703 sales workers (down 62.4 percent).

Another 402 adults worked within the four avenues at the 2013 Census, but lived outside greater Christchurch.

The areas with the biggest increases were Middleton, Riccarton South, and Addington (just outside the south-west edge of the four avenues) and Yaldhurst, Islington, Russley, Hornby North, and Avonhead West (to the west of Christchurch city near the airport).

Increases in Middleton, Riccarton South, and Addington were:

  • 2,616 professionals (up 132.5 percent)
  • 1,503 clerical and administrative workers (up 90.3 percent)
  • 1,122 managers (up 60.1 percent).

Increases in Yaldhurst, Islington, Russley, Hornby North, and Avonhead West were:

  • 1,665 professionals (up 96.0 percent)
  • 1,050 managers (up 50.4 percent)
  • 1,029 clerical and administrative workers (up 54.4 percent).

Map, Number of workers, by greater Christchurch area unit, 2013 Census.

More company vehicles used to get to work on census day

There was an increase in the number of employed adults living in greater Christchurch who drove a company car, truck, or van to work in greater Christchurch on census day. In 2013, 12.6 percent (27,489) drove a company vehicle – up 22.6 percent from 22,428 in 2006. Nationally, there was a 2.4 percent increase over the same time period.

In greater Christchurch, increases in those who drove a company vehicle to work were:

  • Christchurch city – up 14.6 percent
  • Waimakariri district – up 40.3 percent
  • Selwyn district – up 63.0 percent.

In 2013, 7.3 percent of employed adults in greater Christchurch (15,960 people) worked from home, compared with 6.9 percent (14,550 people) in 2006. This was lower than 8.8 percent nationally in 2013. 

Graph, main means of travel to work, in greater Christchurch, 2006 and 2013 Censuses.

Decrease in the use of buses to travel to work

On census day in 2013, 2.5 percent of people travelled to work by bus in greater Christchurch (5,526 people) – down from 3.5 percent (7,443 people) in 2006.

In 2013, 10,578 employed people (4.9 percent) cycled to work (up 7.9 percent) and 8,064 (3.7 percent) walked or jogged (down 16.1 percent). Nationally, there was a 16.0 percent increase in those who cycled to work and a 0.6 percent increase in those who walked or jogged.

Large increase in people travelling into Christchurch city to work

There was a 32.2 percent increase in the number of people commuting into Christchurch city to work from Hurunui district, Waimakariri district, Selwyn district, and Ashburton district. In 2013, 13.4 percent of the Christchurch city workforce (23,166 people) commuted to work from surrounding districts – up from 17,526 (10.7 percent) in 2006.

In 2013, there was an increase in the number of people commuting into Christchurch city from:

  • Selwyn district – 11,169 people (up 44.0 percent)
  • Waimakariri district – 10,728 people (up 20.1 percent).

In 2013, there was an increase in the number of people commuting from Christchurch city to:

  • Selwyn district – 3,807 people (up 56.5 percent)
  • Waimakariri district – 2,058 people (up 45.6 percent).
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