Employment of Tairāwhiti residents continues its upwards growth trajectory, having barely paused for the pandemic. Employment grew 2.9% in the year to March 2022, just ahead of national growth of 2.7%. This is all the more impressive considering that national employment is in a recovery phase, having declined slightly in the year to March 2021. Growth inTairāwhiti has been led by the agriculture and forestry, construction, retail and health industries. The number of JobseekerSupport recipients in Tairāwhiti fell impressively, down 11.1% over the year to March 2022, amounting to 328 people coming off the benefit in the past year.
Population in Tairāwhiti was flat over the past year, as indicated by nil growth in health enrolments, compared to 0.7%nationally. This underscores the importance of bringing locals off Jobseeker Support to allow for employment growth.
Consumer spending in Tairāwhiti grew 4.6% in the year to March 2022, behind the national rate of 6.1%, and behind consumer price inflation of 6.9% for the quarter. This suggest that retail sales volumes may be holding still or easing backwards in the region. Tourism expenditure has continued to grow in Tairāwhiti, up 3.8%pa to $81m for the year to March 2022. Spending held it’s ground in January, but noticeably softened in February and March as the Omicron outbreak disrupted travellers.
Construction activity is set to grow further in Tairāwhiti, with a large increase in both residential and non-residential building consents this quarter. Residential building consents have jumped up by two thirds over the past year, with 39 new dwellings consented in the March 2022 quarter, nearly double the district’s long term average of 21. Non-residential building consents have jumped up by a third, buoyed by early stages of the Kiwa Pool being consented.
Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor Tairāwhiti March 2022