NZ air transport industry hardest hit by Covid

Wellington, Oct 28 (IANS): The air transport industry in New Zealand employed 35 per cent fewer people in February 2021 compared with February 2020, when the Covid-related travel restrictions were not yet in place, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Thursday.

This was the biggest percentage drop in employment for any industry at subdivision level in the year to February 2021, reports Xinhua news agency citing the department as saying.

"The country's international borders remained closed for quarantine-free travel for most of this period, while domestic air travel was severely affected by lockdowns, regional travel restrictions, and the lack of international tourists," statistical business register manager Stuart Pitts said.

At February 2021, there were 370 enterprises engaged in air transport --a drop of 10 from February 2020.

The total number of enterprises in New Zealand edged up 0.5 per cent to 562,520 during the year to February 2021, while the number of employees fell 0.4 per cent to 2.31 million.

"Though the overall business counts moved within a narrow range, there was a wide variation in how different industries fared over the first 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic," Pitts said.

Transport was one of the worst-affected industries, particularly in terms of the number of people employed.

In February 2021, the industry subdivision "other transport", which includes the scenic and sightseeing transport industry, had 32.4 per cent fewer employees than in February 2020.

The number of enterprises engaged in road transport was down 10.1 per cent during the year. Within road transport, road passenger transport was particularly affected with enterprise and employee numbers declining by 22.1 per cent and 13.8 per cent, respectively.

Businesses in the accommodation industry also bore the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. Accommodation providers in New Zealand employed 26,700 people in February 2021 -- a 23.5 per cent drop from the previous year.

The gambling activities industry was also badly affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, with 5.0 per cent fewer enterprises and 24.6 per cent fewer employees in February 2021 compared with February 2020.

Construction was at the forefront of industries that went against this declining trend.

The building construction industry had 6.4 per cent more enterprises and 6.5 per cent more employees in February 2021 than in February 2020.

The construction services industry, which includes services such as site preparation, plumbing, electrical and landscaping, had 3.9 per cent more enterprises and 6 per cent more employees than in February 2020.



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