New Zealand's unemployment rate is forecast to drop from the current 6 percent to 4.8 percent in two years, according to a government employment report out Thursday.
Unemployment would edge down to 5.9 percent this quarter before falling to 5 percent in the March 2015 quarter and 4.8 percent in the March 2016 quarter, according to the report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The report said strong employment growth was expected in the construction and utilities industries over the next three years, while demand for highly skilled workers, such as managers and professionals, would grow faster than overall employment growth.
Opportunities for lower-skilled workers were expected to account for about 30 percent of the employment growth over the next two years, with most of these jobs coming from the food processing, retailing, accommodation, business services and construction industries.
The global economic outlook had strengthened compared to six months ago and the prospects for growth in the United States had improved, while weakening somewhat in China and in Australia over the short term, but this was not expected to dampen New Zealand's export demand and returns, it said.
The reconstruction of earthquake-battered Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region would provide the strongest growth stimulus.