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Another economic report has shown that the Waimakariri District is faring better than expected on the back of Covid-19. The September Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor for Waimakariri was released last week and, while containing a few expected declines, is a surprisingly positive report. This follows October’s North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey which showed a higher level of business confidence than any other time in the past three years and over a third of surveyed businesses reporting growth.
Enterprise North Canterbury Business Support Manager Miles Dalton says, “I’m very happy to say that while Covid has obviously had an impact, this is a reassuringly dull report. Things aren’t as flash as they would have been without Covid-19. However, we are in a much better place than expected, and doing comparatively better than most.”
One of the key stats highlighted in the report was consumer spending, which is up 9.1% for the September quarter compared to the same time last year. For the year to September consumer spending is up 3.3%, meaning retailers are ahead for the year despite the June quarter lockdown.
House prices are also on the up, with values appreciating by 5.9% over the past year. Residential and commercial building consents, however, are both down significantly (-17.1% and -41.2% respectively).
The number of jobseekers has risen by 344 on last year, but the unemployment rate in Waimakariri sits at 3.1% - the same as September 2019.
Tourism spend in Waimakariri is also slightly down on last year – another expected outcome – but the district’s 4.4% decline is minimal compared to -13% for Canterbury and -16.5% for New Zealand as a whole. The district’s GDP growth, although down slightly, was also higher than both Canterbury and New Zealand.
Waimakariri’s dairy sector has been dubbed ‘a source of strength through the recession’ in the report, with dairy farmers expected to reap $199m this season, down only slightly from $209m last year.