Plenty of opportunity in South Island as job market booms following last year's plunge - SEEK

The number of job listings in much of the South Island is booming but one region is going against the grain, a new report has found.

It comes after job ads took a plunge at the end of 2022, declining for four months in a row.

SEEK's latest employment report for February found job ads rose one percent month-on-month and were 15 percent higher compared to pre-COVID in February 2019.

The industries driving the rise in job ads were construction (up 11 percent) and hospitality & tourism (up eight percent), while trades & services, the largest industry, rose two percent month-on-month.

However, applications per job ad fell seven percent in January, after twelve months of consecutive increases.

SEEK NZ country manager Rob Clark said application levels still remain strong in comparison to pre-COVID after 12 months of steady growth.

"Job ads rose only slightly in February, due to increasing demand in the construction and consumer services sectors. hospitality & tourism, construction and retail & consumer products all recorded month-on-month rises in job ads, with retail assistants, chefs and hospitality managers all increasingly in demand," Clark said.

"The good news is that a bit of the heat has come out of the market since the vacancy peaks of 2022. There are still plenty of opportunities open for candidates, and businesses are increasingly seeing application levels rise."

When it comes to the regions, there was little to no change in job ad levels in the major cities, but the South Island saw job ads boom.

All regions in the South Island, except Southland which dropped five percent month-on-month, recorded an increase in job ads. Marlborough was up 12 percent, Tasman up four percent, Canterbury two percent,  West Coast nine percent and Otago six percent.

Auckland and Wellington had no change in job ads month-on-month, while Hawke's Bay declined 15 percent, likely due to recent weather events.

When compared with February 2022, every region recorded a decline in job ads except Otago (up 15 percent), Marlborough (up 15 percent), Gisborne (up one percent) and West Coast (up nine percent).