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Dunedin enjoys steady growth across the board

Economic growth in Dunedin has remained above 2%pa for the last four years, with employment and retail spending remaining particularly strong, according to the latest figures from Infometrics.

Director Enterprise Dunedin, John Christie says, “The quarterly figures show the kind of stable growth that allows the city and its businesses to plan ahead with some confidence. Dunedin’s economy is estimated to have grown by 2.7% over the September year, according to Infometrics’ provisional estimate of GDP. That’s just a little less than the national growth figure of 2.9%.

“Employment within Dunedin businesses (excluding self-employment) had its fastest rate of growth since 2002, climbing 3.9% over the February 2018 year according to Business Demography data from Statistics New Zealand. This is reflected in a decline of 4.8% in the average number of people receiving Jobseeker Support.

Regionally the picture is similar, with almost half of Otago businesses in the September quarter reporting increased difficulty in finding skilled or specialist staff than three months ago, while ANZ job ads data showed robust growth in job openings across the region over the same period.

The figures also show that retail spending in Dunedin continues to expand rapidly, growing 5.6% over the past year, up from 3.8%pa growth the previous year. Data from Marketview shows that retail purchases on electronic cards in the September 2018 quarter totalled $363m, up $19m from a year ago.

“Dunedin’s population increased by an estimated 1,900 reaching 130,700 in the June 2018 year, following growth of 1,800 people the previous year,” Mr Christie says. “Locals may have noticed this through more traffic on the roads, which Infometrics confirms has increased by 4% in Dunedin.

“Meanwhile – though it may seem at odds with the other growth figures – there has been a fall in residential building consents. Although the number of new dwelling consents remains 15% above long-term averages, and we have had a large volume of commercial work consented last year, which will be keeping builders busy.

“The Dunedin Hospital rebuild is also just over the horizon and we are busy planning for the long-term pressure this will put on capacity, not just within the building sector, but across the board.”

News is also positive for Dunedin tourism, with an increase in total expenditure of 7.8% in the year to September 2018 (the New Zealand-wide increase was 8.2%). This translated to a tourism expenditure of approximately $759m, up from $705m a year ago. Infometrics predicts that the New Zealand dollar’s significant depreciation over the past six months will boost the budgets of visitors to New Zealand this summer season.

The report can be viewed at https://ecoprofile.infometrics.co.nz/Dunedin+City/QuarterlyEconomicMonitor


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