Here's the latest Household Labour Force Survey on employment in construction. See Table 7 of HLFS Sept12qtr-tables and the supplementary Canterbury tables.
Prior to Sept 2010, HLFS didn't have a separate accounting for the Christchurch region; I'm not seeing obvious subtables with regional by-industry breakdowns.
Is this quite what you'd expect as part of earthquake rebuilding? Christchurch should have been a shovel-ready project.
I suppose that the counterfactual is that construction typically drops in recessions and that it would have been worse but for Canterbury's rebuild. But the rebuild here - decent chunks of the roading and sewerage infrastructure have to be replaced, huge amounts of housing, lots of businesses - should be multiples of business-as-usual for Canterbury.
It's almost as though some kind of regulatory impediments are preventing people from rebuilding and getting on with things.
The overall unemployment figures are pretty poor. But 900 who want to be trained up to work on the rebuild could consider getting in touch with SCIRT. Update: Matt Nolan notes that HLFS may be biased downwards on construction in Christchurch. I'm going to hoist the whole comment up into the main post here:
I would note that the HLFS isn't counting people who left their permanent residence to go float around in Chch - it will take time for them to turn up in the data (if they do at all).
So you can definitely make a case that self-employment and construction are being undercounted in the HLFS - making QES, and eventually LEED when it comes out, a bit of a better source for this info.