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Positive signs in latest Timaru economic survey

GDP in Timaru district was provisionally up 3.6 per cent for the year totalling $3,215 million to September 2021.

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

GDP in Timaru district was provisionally up 3.6 per cent for the year totalling $3,215 million to September 2021.

Positive signs abound in the latest survey on Timaru district’s economic performance even given the challenges of Covid-19.

“It paints a pretty positive picture for Timaru district once again, and now with the Scott Base project coming to PrimePort, we can expect more growth ahead,” Venture Timaru chief executive Nigel Davenport said. .

GDP in Timaru district was provisionally up 3.6 per cent for the year ($3,215 million) to September 2021 compared to a year earlier, economics agency Infometrics reported in its Quarterly Economic Monitor Report to September 2021.

Electronic card consumer spending, as measured by Marketview, increased by 7.7 per cent (approximately $159 million) compared to the previous year and total tourism expenditure rose 11.2 per cent.

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“It shows good evidence of New Zealanders supporting the domestic tourism industry,” Davenport said.

The average current house value in Timaru district was up 18 per cent with the average current house value now $471,362.

Residential consents reached their highest quarterly level since 2016, with a significant 52.9 per cent growth in the past year, with 84 consents, well up on the 41 issued in the same quarter last year.

“It’s big growth in housing consents and this is really tangible evidence of the boom our construction industry is experiencing at the moment, and that’s set to continue with the news of the Scott Base build here,” Davenport said.

Nigel Davenport says the rise in housing consents reflects a boom in the Timaru construction industry.

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Nigel Davenport says the rise in housing consents reflects a boom in the Timaru construction industry.

The district’s dairy payout for the 2021/2022 season was expected to be approximately $440 million, which Infometrics said was $35 million higher than last season, assuming that production levels from last season were maintained

Employment continued to grow, up by 0.6 per cent over the year to September 2021 with the strongest growth in construction, health, manufacturing and professional services.

“Notably, accommodation and food services employment has surpassed pre-Covid levels,” Infometrics said.

“Rising employment has enabled a downwards trend in Jobseeker Support recipients, after a peak in the year to March 2021.

“The decrease in jobseekers is apparent across all gender, age and ethnic groups, suggesting a broad-based recovery.

“Long-term jobseekers have continued to increase, indicating that some are struggling to re-enter employment.”

Timaru’s unemployment rate has eased back from its post-pandemic peak, to 3.8 per cent.

Nationally, provisional estimates from Infometrics point to a 3.7 per cent fall in national economic activity in the September quarter compared to September 2020, with a strong six-week stint before the Delta lockdown softening the economic blow. “The economy has started to bounce back from the Level 4 hit, but this bounce is more subdued than after the original lockdown.

“This latest economic setback has pulled down annual economic activity, with growth slowing from 4.2 per cent pa higher over the 12 months to June 2021 to growth of 3.7 per cent pa in the 12 months to September 2021.”

Infometrics said although the supply of goods and services had been constrained, demand continued to be strong, causing rising inflationary pressures and intense labour market tightness that will persist into 2022, with the New Zealand economy still showing resilience in the face of the pandemic.



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