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1999 A Good Year For Manufacturing

“The WestpacTrust Quarterly Analysis of Manufacturing shows that overall 1999 was a good year for New Zealand manufacturers with strong productivity growth leading to increased profits” said David Moloney, President of the New Zealand Manufacturers Federation.

“After what was by anyone’s standards a difficult year in 1998, the sector has turned in productivity growth for the 1999 of 6.8% (compared to only 0.6% the previous year). Profit levels were the highest ever recorded in the ten years since the data has been collected. At the same time real wages increased by 1.1% in the year to December, despite a fall in the hours worked.

“Sales growth was commodity based. The highest growth of 15% for the year was experienced in forest based commodities, with resource based commodities up 8.9%. By comparison non-commodity manufacturing was up only 2.1% for the December year.

“The main concern is that real investment has continued to decline, but the feeling is that this decline has bottomed out. The WestpacTrust Business Opinion survey for the March Quarter is due out in the next week or so and it will be interesting to see whether investment has turned the corner.

“Expectations are that filled jobs, hours worked and wages paid will continue to rise over 2000, with the likelihood of significant wages pressure developing over the course of the year as skilled labour becomes increasingly scarce.

“It is clear that those seeking employment or better paying jobs should look to improve their skills levels. The key to employment and wage growth is an education system that is responsive to the needs of industry.”


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