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Region’s Economic Growth Gathers Momentum

Region’s Economic Growth Gathers Momentum

Economic growth in the Wellington region has improved to between 2.5 and 3 percent per annum over the first half of 2003, according to the August edition of Regional Outlook, published six-monthly by Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Factors driving this growth include increases in the working-age population and improved activity in the housing, niche manufacturing and international education sectors.

“It is encouraging to see the work that has gone into transforming the region is paying off,” says Margaret Shields, chairperson of Greater Wellington.

Immigrants and international students pushed working-age population growth in the Wellington region to 4% for the year ended March 2003, compared to the national rate of 2%.

“This is the fastest rate of growth in the working-age population in the region in five years. Many people obviously share our belief that the Wellington region is a great place to live,” says Cr Shields.

Although employment growth has been relatively strong recently it hasn’t been sufficient to absorb the rapid growth in the working age population. Consequently, the region’s unemployment rate rose to 5.2% over the March 2003 year.

Population growth has stimulated building activity with a 28% increase in dwelling consents issued over the year ended May 2003. This reflects growing demand for apartments from students and older people.

Nationally, manufacturers have struggled because of the rising New Zealand dollar. However niche manufacturing in the Wellington region appears to have coped well with the tough conditions. A decline in vacancy rates for industrial buildings implies there has been some expansion of manufacturing and wholesaling in the region.

Regional Outlook is prepared by Infometrics Ltd for Greater Wellington. Regional Outlook is available from the offices of Greater Wellington in Wakefield Street, Wellington, the economic development agencies of local councils, and on the GW website at www.gw.govt.nz/economy

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