Rising economic momentum is welcome news amidst a challenging economic context

Rising economic momentum is welcome news amidst a challenging economic context

Written by Gareth Power Gordon

Posted on Tuesday 16 May 2023

The Nelson-Tasman economy saw among the strongest growth in economic activity of any region in the March 2023 quarter, rising 4.1%pa compared to a 2.9%pa national increase for the same period. This is according to the latest Infometric’s Quarterly Economic Monitor March 2023, which has been published today by the NRDA as part of its regional economy data and insights programme.     

“Highlights in this Monitor include employment growth of 2.9%, Jobseeker Support recipients down 13.5%, and a lower than national average unemployment rate of 2.9%. The Monitor notes that economic activity remained finely balanced at the start of 2023, with a strong labour market, rising interest rates and weather disruption all adding to a cautious but still robust start to the year.” Fiona Wilson, CE of NRDA says.

“While it is important to remember that these quarterly figures are subject to fluctuation, and we are in a very challenging regional context, including low productivity, low wages and high housing costs, it is always cause for celebration when the region is heading in a positive direction.”

Infometrics Principal Economist and Chief Executive, Brad Olson, commented, “That level of economic growth, at a time when a number of economic indicators are signalling a weaker outlook and other headline economic statistics appear more challenging, is remarkable, and comes as the number of filled jobs held by Nelson-Tasman residents rose 2.9% over the 12 months to March 2023, again stronger than the national average. Nelson-Tasman has been one of the strongest performing regional economies over the last year, with rising economic momentum becoming increasingly apparent.”

Gareth Power Gordon, NRDA’s Manager Regional Strategy and Investment, says the Monitor shows the importance of taking a regional approach to economic development. “The March release shows that while residential consents were down in Nelson City, this was offset by significant activity in Tasman District. On the flip side, Tasman District saw a decrease in non-residential consents which was offset by Nelson City. Looking at the wider region, both these economic measures were positive.”

“There are some signs that households and businesses are being prudent in the face of continuing interest rate hikes, inflation and the looming wave of fixed-rate mortgage expirations.”

NRDA receive the economic monitor on a quarterly basis. “This Monitor is one of many pieces of economic analysis the NRDA has access to or creates to support our local businesses and decision makers to make informed decisions,” says Power Gordon.

Copies of the full Quarterly Economic Monitor report are available at https://www.nelsontasman.nz/do-business/insights/