Employment and population figures show the reciprocal relationship between Christchurch and the Districts of Selwyn and Waimakariri, Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) reports.
The Christchurch and Canterbury Quarterly Economic Report (December 2016 Quarter), released by CDC, says that in the last six years, Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri have all experienced changes in population and employment growth.
CDC Chief Executive Tom Hooper says the city and region have a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Christchurch’s strong economy has meant employment opportunities for those wishing to commute in from outlying areas, while the region provides lifestyle and housing options which are helping to attract a highly-skilled workforce from other parts of New Zealand.”
Different population drivers
Over the last year all three areas experienced population growth. Christchurch’s population grew at 1.9 percent, Waimakariri at 3.7 percent and Selwyn at 6.6 percent.
The drivers of this growth differ between the three locations – the majority of Waimakariri and Selwyn’s growth came from local and national migration (74 and 67 percent respectively), whereas three quarters of Christchurch’s growth came from international migration.
“As New Zealand’s newest city Christchurch has built an international profile which has attracted a lot of overseas migration for work opportunities. At the same time the trend for city dwellers to move to the region has built momentum and helped to disperse the population growth,” said Tom Hooper.
Construction leads employment growth across city and region
The report says from 2010 to 2016 the three territories exceeded the national employment growth average, driven largely by construction.
After construction the growth industries in each territory differed with Christchurch experiencing employment growth in professional services, Selwyn in manufacturing and Waimakariri in retail.
Strong relationship between population and employment
Christchurch’s population fell immediately after the earthquakes but has now returned to pre-earthquake levels (in June 2016). Over the same period the city experienced strong employment growth (11 percent) resulting in employment opportunities exceeding the supply of workers. Waimakariri District experienced a similar scenario, with employment growth outpacing the population growth resulting in employers competing to fill vacant positions.
“The increase in international migration and those commuting in from the surrounding region ensured a sufficient workforce supply in the market and allowed the economy to continue to grow,” said Tom Hooper.
During the same period Selwyn’s population outpaced employment growth meaning residents were relying on other areas, particularly Christchurch and Waimakariri, to provide work opportunities.
“Having access to these Districts has been a huge advantage for Christchurch, allowing the city to scale up for the rebuild and providing tempting lifestyle and housing options. Looking to the future we expect to see this relationship develop as Selwyn, and particularly the town of Rolleston, grow and mature.
“This is one of Canterbury’s great characteristics, the opportunity for balance. The ability to work in a city and enjoy a country lifestyle.”
Read the full report here Christchurch and Canterbury Quarterly Economic Report (December 2016 Quarter),