- ANZ job ads rose 1.6% in December (seasonally adjusted) to be 18.8% higher than a year ago (3-month average). This is the strongest annual growth since late 2011.
- Job ads have now risen for 16 months in a row (seasonally adjusted). Such a string of increases flags very strong demand for labour.
- Auckland remains the strongest of the three main centres, with job ads 19.3% higher than a year ago (+6.7% 3m/3m). Wellington job ads appear to be flattening off (+2.3% 3m/3m) though are still up 15.2% on a year ago. Canterbury has been flat for some time (+1.5% 3m/3m, +1.9% y/y).
- Our largest cities continue to be outdone by the regions in growth terms. Nine of the 11 less-urbanised regions are recording annual job ad growth stronger than Auckland (3-month average), while the other two are no slugs either (Taranaki +18.9% y/y, Southland +17.8% y/y). Gisborne job ads are up 51% on a year ago, with Hawke's Bay moving into second spot (+39% y/y).
- The construction, utilities, manufacturing and transport sector is the largest sectoral driver of total job ads growth at present. Retail, tourism and recreation and services are not far behind.
- The current strength of labour demand flags stronger wage growth in 2017.
ANZ Chief Economist Cameron Bagrie commented, "Job ads growth is strong around most of the country, but noticeably stronger in the regions. Such demand signals that the constraint in most regions is not whether there are opportunities, but whether the labour is available to take advantage of them.
"The New Zealand economy is growing strongly, and firms clearly have the confidence to seek staff around the country. Despite record-high net migration, labour shortages clearly exist. When there is a shortage the price invariably goes up. We expect stronger wage growth to be a feature of 2017."
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