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Bay of Plenty showing economic activity resilience

Infometrics’ Quarterly Economic Monitor for the Bay of Plenty region indicates that as a whole, the region is showed a level of economic performance that is higher than the rest of the country, largely driven by strong performance in Whakatāne and Tauranga.

Released today (Friday 26 February) the Infometrics’ report provides data updates on both the 2020 calendar year, and the final quarter, ending December 2020. The Bay of Plenty report covers Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua and Western Bay of Plenty.

The report indicates GDP (used as a measure of economic activity) in the Bay of Plenty region contracted by 1%, compared with a 2.6% contraction across the rest of New Zealand.

Other key points for the Bay of Plenty from the report include:

• Consumer spending was down just 0.4% for 2020, compared with a 3.2% reduction nationally over the previous year

• Non-residential consents were up 1.5% - compared with a significant 5.5% decline nationally

• 662 new residential building consents were issued in the December quarter in the Bay of Plenty, compared with 484 for the same quarter in 2019

• The average house value was up 16.6% in December 2020 to $775,160, higher than the national average increase of 13%

• Total tourism expenditure in the Bay of Plenty decreased by 10.2% in the year to December 2020 to $887 million

• The number of Jobseeker benefits increased by 37% compared with the previous year, higher than the national increase of 35.9%

• The region’s unemployment rate was 5.1% in December 2020, an increase from 4.2% in December 2019, and higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.6%

Bay of Connections Chair, Tim Hurdle says that while the overall picture shows the underlying strength of the regional economy, there is considerable variation across sectors and the communities of the Bay of Plenty.

“Our local businesses are working hard to keep their people in work and deserve credit for their commitment to staff. They are adapting and succeeding in difficult conditions,” says Mr Hurdle.

“The agricultural export sectors continue to perform well, but some major sectors are under considerable pressure.

“Tourism is feeling the impact of the closed border. While many New Zealanders have embraced the opportunity to get out and about in their own backyard, this doesn’t offset the sheer volume of international visitors that are unavailable.

“This continues to have a flow on effect for supporting industries, contributing to the increase in Jobseeker benefit numbers,” says Mr Hurdle.

The full Infometrics report is available here.

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Friday, February 26, 2021

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