Impacts of Quakes on Surviving Businesses in Canterbury

Press Release – Department Of Labour

A survey of just over 1,700 Canterbury businesses on the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes will provide information to help businesses and local and Government organisations plan for the future.12 December 2011

Survey of Canterbury Employers Shows Impacts of Quakes on Surviving Businesses

A survey of just over 1,700 Canterbury businesses on the impacts of the Canterbury earthquakes will provide information to help businesses and local and Government organisations plan for the future.

The Canterbury Employers Survey was conducted in October by the Department of Labour to find out the impact of the earthquakes; how businesses have responded to the disruption; and what the ongoing challenges are.

General Manager of the Labour and Immigration Research Centre Vasantha Krishnan said that the survey findings indicate that, as might be expected, the earthquakes have had a negative impact on employment levels and revenue.

“While just over half of all workplaces reported that staff levels did not change due to the earthquakes, in most industry sectors a higher proportion of businesses saw a reduction in staff numbers than an increase. The exceptions were the Construction and the Primary, Transport and Utilities sectors.

“The impact on revenue was greater, with only a fifth of businesses maintaining revenue levels compared to forty percent reporting a drop in revenue. About one fifth of businesses reported higher revenue due to the earthquakes,” says Ms Krishnan.

The industry sectors most affected by staff losses were also the most likely to have relocated their business. Nearly 60% of businesses in the Professional, Scientific and Technical sector relocated part or all of their business due to damage or disruption caused by the earthquakes.

Just under 50% of businesses surveyed had received the Earthquake Support subsidy, with most saying that it had helped them to keep their business going.

Ongoing challenges for Christchurch employers include difficulties retaining and attracting staff; and renewing insurance policies, particularly for employers with 50 or more staff. Resolving insurance payments was also an issue for employers.

Looking ahead over the next 12 months, most employers expect that the outlook will improve; and that they will either maintain or increase staff numbers.

“Overall, positive long-term perceptions about quality of life in the region and strong hiring intentions suggest that negative impacts are seen by many as short term and will be overcome as the region gets back on its feet.”

Ms Krishnan says that this survey is the most comprehensive information gathering exercise to date on the impacts of the earthquake on Canterbury businesses.

“This research will be shared with other organisations working to support employers during the Canterbury rebuild. The research results will also help Government and local organisations identify ways of assisting businesses in the region.”

The research report is available at this link.

ENDS

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