Hottish off the press: there are now more than 120,000 people working in Auckland’s city centre,* making it the biggest hub for employment in New Zealand. Almost 3,000 jobs were added in the last year.
That’s based on a fairly typical definition of the city centre, stretching from Wynyard Quarter to the eastern end of the ports, and inside the motorway noose (plus the western end of K Road).
There are also a lot of jobs in the ‘city fringe’ areas – Freemans Bay, Eden Terrace, Grafton, Parnell, Ponsonby, Newmarket – and there are another 67,000 people based there. All up, that’s almost 190,000 jobs across the city centre and fringe.
Stats NZ publish local-level jobs data each year, so we’ve now got quite consistent data over 20 years:
And I’m using the definitions below:
That’s pretty good growth over 20 years, you might be thinking, and you’d be right as there has been more than 50% employment growth. That’s actually very similar to the growth across the overall Auckland region, so it’s not a standout – but the city centre has done it within a ‘fixed’ area, and has dramatically grown its residential population in the same period. Unsurprisingly the biggest single area of growth within the city centre has been at Wynyard and through the Viaduct area with over 310%. The job numbers are set to keep rising, with a lot of new buildings underway and the City Rail Link giving even better connectivity when it opens in 2024.
It’s also interesting to compare the figures for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch city centres. At the start of the 21st century, Wellington’s city centre had the highest employment, even though greater Wellington is only a third the size of Auckland. It was only around 2012/2013 that Auckland pulled ahead. Relative to its size, Wellington is still much more city centre-focused, with this one area having 45% of all jobs in the urban region (Wellington + Porirua + Lower Hutt + Upper Hutt).
By comparison, Auckland has 15% of its employment in the city centre, or 24% including the fringe suburbs.
Christchurch had a relatively larger city centre than Auckland before the quakes – half the employment, but in a city one-third the size. This picture has changed since the earthquakes: most of the CBD core was demolished, Christchurch decentralised, and even with all the rebuilds so far, employment is still well down on pre-quake levels.
Lastly, you might be wondering where the other 76% of Auckland’s jobs are. They’re spread around the region of course, but here are the biggest employment areas from north to south:
- Albany: 8,600 employees
- Rosedale/ North Harbour industrial: 25,700 employees
- Wairau Valley: 10,800 employees
- Takapuna: 19,700 employees (includes Smales Farm, the hospital, Barrys Point Rd etc)
- Ellerslie office parks: 12,900 employees
- Penrose/ Onehunga/ Mt Wellington industrial: 58,800 employees
- Auckland Airport and the airport corridor industrial: 28,800 employees
- East Tamaki: 28,200 employees
- Manukau/ Wiri industrial: 35,800 employees
The southeast corner of the isthmus is obviously a pretty wide area – Penrose, Onehunga and Mt Wellington combined have around half the jobs of the city centre, but across three times the area. The ’employment density’ of the city centre is 6 times higher. You can see that in this map showing job density.
* Or maybe just under 120,000 people, depending on how you define it. I’ve gone with the same definition Matt used last year, I think. But there’s a little area in his definition which I probably would have left out. Anyway, no one reads the footnotes.**
** If they did, they’d be like, hey, John Polkinghorne’s back! Whoo! What happened to that guy, anyway?
EDIT: apologies incorrect map uploaded late at night. Thanks to Hamish (see comments below) for correct map. Now fixed. -admin