Bay of Plenty economic activity remains elevated in latest QEM

Infometrics’ latest Quarterly Economic Monitor shows economic activity remained elevated across New Zealand in the September 2022 quarter, driven by stronger tourism activity and household spending.

Bay of Plenty’s GDP grew 2.4% per annum in the year ended September 2022, as higher consumer spending fuelled strong economic activity.

Consumer spending has remained strong, with a spending total of $5b in the September year, a 7.9% increase compared to the year prior.

People continue to be attracted to the Bay of Plenty, with health enrolments increasing 1.3% in the 12 months to September 2022, indicating strong population growth.  

There has also been strong employment growth in Bay of Plenty, with employment increasing 3.6% per annum, ahead of the New Zealand rate of 3.1% per annum.

The high demand for workers has led to a fall in the number of Jobseeker Support recipients of 7.8% in the year to September 2022. However, this drop was not as large as the national decline of 11.4% in the number of Job Seeker benefits.

Despite strong employment growth and increased consumer spending, it is clear many are uneasy about making larger purchases compared to last year.

Both house values and sales declined in Bay of Plenty, down 2.7% and 24% per annum respectively in the year to September 2022, as the region’s housing market slows in line with the rest of New Zealand.

Car registrations are also down, with 11% fewer cars registered compared to the year ended September 2021.

The tourism sector in Bay of Plenty continues to bounce back from the COVID-induced decline of the last two years, with tourism spending totalling $1.1m in the year to September 2022, the second-highest level of spending since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total tourism expenditure in Bay of Plenty Region increased by 0.9% in the year to September 2022, compared to a year earlier. This compares with an increase of 3.3% nationally.

Overall, visitor spending is bouncing back strongly across New Zealand, as international tourists start to return at stronger levels than first expected. The boost in spending over the 12 months to September 2022 is an encouraging sign of continued improvements to come.