20 Sep 2012

Economic activity picking up on rebuild

8:07 pm on 20 September 2012

Signs are emerging that the Christchurch rebuild is beginning to fuel economic activity, contributing to the strongest annual growth figures since 2007.

Official figures show gross domestic product, a broad measure of the health of the economy, rose 0.6% for the three months to June, following a revised 1% in the previous quarter.

The rise was driven by a growth in milk production and construction.

The general manager of Jennian Homes in Canterbury, Rob Sloan, says its business has increased by up to 20% and he has taken on new staff.

He says that is partly due to insurers beginning to ease their criteria.

The managing director of Leighs Construction in Christchurch, Anthony Leighs, says there are skilled jobs on offer in his sector.

He says it will be several months before there is real growth in jobs for the less skilled.

Mr Leighs says there is currently little work in the CBD, and he expects the rebuild will not kick off for several months.

Where are jobs? - CTU

The Council of Trade Unions says the rise in recorded economic growth is not translating into more jobs.

CTU economist Bill Rosenberg says overall employment dropped in New Zealand during the last quarter.

"There's pretty hefty investment going on in the economy but it's in areas that aren't showing up into jobs, and we've had this obviously for quite some time now and the forecast for job growth, and particularly for unemployment, is not at all optimistic."

Mr Rosenberg says lower income families especially are seeing a drop in actual income.