The Manawatū economy continues to be incredibly resilient, with increased tourism spending boosting the local economy
The unique mix of industries in Manawatū has driven a GDP growth of 2.6% over the year to March 2023, with the regional economy* holding its own as New Zealand enters a recession following two quarters of negative growth.
Jobs, earnings growth, tourism spending and net international migration have remained strong, and there are promising signs of increased enrollments in the tertiary education sector, with final figures to be released later this year. Labour market conditions in the region remain tight with 863 additional jobs created over the year to March, and an unemployment rate of 3.2% versus a national rate of 3.4%.
While consumer spending is up year-on-year, particularly in tourism-related sectors, the cost-of-living continues to be a hot topic. Stats NZ announced that food prices increased by 12.5% over the year to April 2023. This was the highest annual increase in food prices since September 1987, which included the introduction of GST in 1986. Annual figures for May 2023 indicate a slight easing of food price inflation, with the rise in the cost of food over the year falling slightly to 12.1%.
According to an IPSOS Global Advisor Survey released in March, one in four Kiwis are finding it difficult to manage financially – up from one in five in 2022. Just under half of the respondents continue to believe that their disposable income will fall over the next year, while one in four believe that their standard of living will also fall over the next year.
CEDA’s Chief Executive, Jerry Shearman, notes that there have been a number of elements that have contributed to a cautious start to the year; including weather events, and inflationary measures by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ).
Read the full Manawatū Quarterly Economic Snapshot