Skilled Otago workers were constantly in demand, particularly in Canterbury, Otago Southland Employers Association chief executive John Scandrett said yesterday.
Commenting on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment advertised skilled job vacancies, Mr Scandrett said, for many months, Otago-Southland had seen strong expansionary activity across its regional manufacturing and service sectors.
''Accordingly, business operators are acutely aware of the need to maintain upper-end employment capacities.
On top of this, the Christchurch rebuild is continuing to gain momentum and the search for qualified personnel there is ongoing.
It's hard for us to ignore the fact that since the earthquakes, key industry employment demand in Canterbury has experienced a 375% lift and, as a `shoulder-region', our people are constantly in demand.''
Skilled job vacancies advertised online increased by 1.1% for the month of December and were up 7.4% for the year to December.
The number of vacancies for skilled jobs grew in eight out of 10 regions across New Zealand during the year.
The biggest annual increases were in the Bay of Plenty (up 20.6%), Otago-Southland (up 11.2%) and Auckland (up 10.3%).
Skilled vacancies fell in Wellington by 4.3% and in Northland by 1%Skilled vacancies in Canterbury increased over the year, with vacancies in the region growing by 8.3%.
The 375% increase in advertised vacancies had been since 2010.
Mr Scandrett said the strength of the increases represented the robust level of continuing economic growth in the Auckland and Bay of Plenty regions.
The ANZ Job Ads series also showed an increase in total job advertising, up 0.8% in December - unwinding the fall seen over the previous two months.
ANZ senior economist Sharon Zollner said the trend in the index had flattened.
Nationwide internet job advertising lifted 0.6% in December and newspaper advertising increased 1.9%.
Newspaper advertising fell in the Manawatu but rose in Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Otago. The Otago Daily Times contributed to the index.
''Job advertising data suggests the strongest employment growth is now behind us. Labour supply has also been growing strongly, thanks to high migration.''
The unemployment rate was expected to ease only modestly from the current level of 5.4% in the coming year, she said.
Mr Scandrett said looking into the first quarter of the new year, he found it difficult to see Otago-Southland unemployment lifting significantly beyond existing levels, which already sat below the national average.
''I feel that employee demand will hold for the majority of positions across most employment sectors but it would be helpful to be able to obtain a breakdown of specialist person demand against other more general positions.
''Skilled worker demand, in my view, remains strong.''