People looking to move to New Zealand with in demand skills, particularly in the construction, business services and hospitality sectors, are likely to see a growth in opportunities in the next three years.

The latest Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment short term employment forecast report for 2015 to 2018 indicates that employment is set to grow by more than 141,300 jobs over the next three years.

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The report shows there will be strong employment demand across New Zealand in response to strong economic growth, supported by the construction, business services and hospitality sectors.

Employment is forecast to grow by 2.5% between March 2015 and March 2016, by 1.9% between 2016 and 2017 and by 1.6% between 2017 and 2018.

The unemployment rate is expected to decline, falling to 5.4% in the first quarter of 2016, and dropping sharply to 4.9% in the first quarter of 2017. By the first quarter of 2018, the rate is forecast to rises to 5% when employment growth slows.

Strong employment growth is expected in the construction and utility industry along with the hospitality sector, wholesale and retail trade and business services over the next two to three years.

Growth in demand for employment in highly skilled occupations, mostly managers and professionals, will be higher than the overall employment growth. It will be at or above 2.4% per annum over the forecast period and account for more than 58% of the overall employment growth over the next three years.

Highly skilled occupations made up about 42% of the overall employment share in 2014 and are forecast to rise to 43% over the next two years.

Opportunities for lower skilled workers are forecast to account for about 28% of the employment growth over this period. The food processing, retailing, accommodation, business services and construction industries are expected to create most of these opportunities.

Lower skilled occupations accounted for about 47% of the overall employment share in 2014, which is forecast to fall to 45% by March 2018.

Regional employment growth over the next three years is forecast to be spread across many regions. The share of employment growth will be strongest in the Auckland, Canterbury, Waikato and Otago/Southland regions accounting for nearly two thirds of the overall growth during the three years.