New Zealand job ads fall 25 percent year-on-year - Seek

The number of jobs advertised in New Zealand has plunged 25 percent in December compared to the previous year, according to Seek's Employment Dashboard.  

These were partly driven by annual drops in the information and communication technology industry (down 37 percent), manufacturing, transport and logistics (down 33 percent) and retail and consumer products (down 33 percent).  

Regions to record a large annual drop in job ads included Taranaki (down 41 percent), Wellington (down 32 percent) and Manawatu (down 31 percent). No region recorded a year-on-year increase in job ads in December.  

Infometrics chief executive and principal economist Brad Olsen told Newshub while job ads have retreated from an elevated level in 2022, they are now below pre-COVID levels. 

"Although we were seeing job ads coming off a high base, they are now at a much more contractionary point," Olsen said.  

"There aren't nearly as many job opportunities out there available for people, so you are seeing increasingly in 2024 that there will be more and more people looking for jobs… but at the same time, fewer job ads being put on the market. 

"So, businesses aren't seeing as strong economic activity, they don't need as many additional workers and so there are fewer job ads just as there are more people looking for them." 

While job ads dropped significantly year-on-year, December recorded a smaller decline compared to November 2023.  

Job ads dropped two percent month-on-month in December, which was a slower monthly decline than the previous three months, Seek NZ country manager Rob Clark said.  

West Coast (up 8 percent), Canterbury (up 3 percent), Marlborough (up 3 percent), Northland (up 3 percent) and Bay of Plenty (up 1 percent) were the only regions to record an increase in job ads month-on-month. Volumes fell in Auckland (down 2 percent) and Wellington (down 6 percent).  

Month-on-month job ad change by region.
Month-on-month job ad change by region. Photo credit: SEEK NZ

Clark said hospitality and tourism job ads rose by seven percent from November, and construction rose 6 percent. The greatest decline was for government and defence roles, where cuts were flagged by the new Government back in November.  

Meanwhile, applications per job ad rose, up nine percent from October to November, making competition among applicants extremely tight, Clark added.  

Olsen said in 2023 New Zealand saw job loss start to come through. The unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent in the September quarter, its highest level since mid-2021. 

On top of that, more people became available to work driven by higher levels of migration and more unemployed people being attracted into the workforce due to higher wages and high living costs. 

Olsen expects the decline in job ads will affect migration during 2024. 

"We often don't see huge numbers of people coming into New Zealand without some sort of expectation for a job on the horizon," Olsen said. 

"As we see fewer and fewer jobs advertised, we'd expect to see fewer people coming to New Zealand."