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Infometrics webinar: Lockdown 2.0 Economic Update


New Zealand is already seeing signs of better economic activity as most of the country readjusts to lower COVID alert levels.

In a webinar this week, Infometrics Principal Economist Brad Olsen says there is a sense of confidence the economy has the resilience and strength to weather this latest lockdown setback.
Brad says previous challenges have shown the economy is able to bounce back swiftly from any changes to restrictions or other COVID-19 obstructions.

Consumer spending data for the brief period of Alert Level 3 and first three days’ Alert Level 2 already show early signs of a bounce back, with national consumer spending returning to near-normal levels on the first day of Alert Level 2, even with Auckland in Alert Level 4.

Data also shows consumers have been spending more in supermarkets since the onset of the Level 4 lockdown, and home and recreation categories have seen a boost in spending during Alert Level 3, enabled by click and collect services, and level 2 with in-store shopping becoming available.

Hospitality spending remains substantially lower (30 per cent below usual national levels) due to the additional Level 2 restrictions put in place to combat the Delta variant. It is estimated that this is costing the sector $5.3 million a day in lower spending.

Mr Olsen says, as with the previous lockdown, the silver lining was spending is more likely being delayed, rather than lost.
In the Bay of Plenty, there was a 44 per cent fall in consumer spend in the first full week of Alert Level 4 in August.

The region also saw an increase of 738 Jobseeker Support recipients since 13 August, an approximate 4.8 per cent increase.

However, Mr Olsen says it is too early to tell if this rise will be temporary, as there are still demand pressures on the labour market.

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Friday, September 17, 2021

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