The government sector is a major contributor to Palmerston North’s economy, with recent data provided by Statistics New Zealand revealing that nearly 30% of the city’s workforce is employed by central, regional and local government.
This institutional sector data, analysed by Palmerston North City Council’s Economic Policy Advisor Peter Crawford, also found that Palmerston North’s share of government employees was nearly twice that of the national percentage. Over 15,000 people are employed by government organisations in Palmerston North, while nationally only around 18% (410,100) of employees work in the sector. An increasing trend in government employee numbers has been seen over the last eight years.
“This figure is particularly significant when considering the growth of the sector in our city,” says Mr Crawford.
“Palmerston North has experienced an increase of 19.3% in government sector employees between 2011 and 2019, while in comparison, the national increase was 8.3%.
“The largest contributors to this growth will have been the increase in personnel numbers at Linton Army Camp, MidCentral DHB, primary schools across the city, and at Immigration New Zealand.”
CEDA’s Chief Executive Linda Stewart is not surprised by this increase in employees.
“Palmerston North is an attractive destination for those working in the government sector with minimal commutes and lower housing costs all contributing to a greater quality of life,” she says.
“We are centrally located, with excellent transport links to the likes of Wellington and Auckland, the workforce is diverse and well educated, so to live and work here makes sense for so many people.”
Government sector employees are also seeing a significant proportion of Palmerston North’s wages and salaries, with $964 million paid in the year to March 2018 – nearly 38% of all salaries and wages paid in the city. This is an increase of 19% for central government employees since 2011, with the wages of their private sector counterparts increasing by 36% in the same period.
“It’s a great time to be working in the sector in our city, the jobs are available, and they come with good salaries, great career growth opportunities and of course an excellent work-life balance,” says Ms Stewart.
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