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At your service – the changing face of the economy


21 November 2019

In the 1970s, agriculture made the largest single contribution to New Zealand’s economy, but other industries, especially services, have become more dominant in recent years, Stats NZ said today.

A new online tool shows the changing structure of the economy and contributions to gross domestic product (GDP) from 1972, when the time series started, to 2018.

“Using the visual tool, you can see which industries contributed most to the production measure of GDP in a given year. Agriculture remains a large part of the economy, especially when commodity prices are high, but is no longer top of the list as it was in 1972,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said.

Access the tool Which industries contributed to New Zealand’s GDP?

Agriculture is part of the primary sector, which includes farming, forestry, fishing, and mining. Together, these made up 12 percent of the economy in 1972, compared with 7 percent in 2018, as other sectors have grown more rapidly.

However, the primary sector does not include further processing of farm products, such as raw milk or livestock, which fall under food and beverage manufacturing (good producing), nor moving goods to market (part of distribution services).

Service industries now represent about two-thirds (65 percent) of the economy, compared with about half (52 percent) in the 1970s. Services range from rental, hiring, and real estate services, to health care, transport, and professional and scientific services.

The new tool lets you choose a year and the bar graph displays the top 10 industries that contributed most to GDP for that year (figures 1 and 2 show 1972 and 2018 as examples). A doughnut chart at the side shows the relative shares of broad industry groups and taxes for that same period.

Figure 1


Text alternative for figure 1, top 10 industries in 1972 and share of the economy in 1972.

“Taxes on production contributed 1 percent to GDP in 1972. This has increased in contribution over time, now sitting at around 9 percent. This rise was mainly due to the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) in 1986 at 10 percent, and later increases in the rate to 15 percent,” Mr Dunnet said.

Figure 2


Text alternative for figure 2, top 10 industries in 2018 and share of the economy in 2018.

To see other years, view the tool Which industries contributed to New Zealand’s GDP?

Data used for this tool is in current prices, so is not adjusted for inflation over time. Data is sourced from the National accounts (industry production and investment): Year ended March 2018.


Text alternative for figure 1, top 10 industries in 1972 and share of the economy in 1972

The horizontal bar graph shows the top 10 industries that contributed most to the production measure of GDP in 1972 in descending order. The x-axis gives contribution to value added in million dollars. The y-axis lists top 10 industries in descending order: Agriculture – 660; Retail trade – 512; Food, beverage and tobacco product manufacturing – 491; Construction – 452; Wholesale trade – 385; Transport, postal and warehousing – 380; Petroleum chemical and rubber manufacturing – 341; Owner-occupied property organisation – 289; Education and training – 269; Information media and telecommunications – 241; Rental hiring and real estate services – 241.

Beside the bar graph a doughnut chart shows the share of each broad industry group to the total production economy of New Zealand in 1972: Service industries 52%; Goods producing 35%; Primary 12%; Taxes 1%.


Text alternative for figure 2, top 10 industries in 2018 and share of the economy in 2018

The horizontal bar graph shows the top 10 industries that contributed most to the production measure of GDP in 2018. The x-axis gives contribution to value added in million dollars. The y-axis lists top 10 industries in descending order: Professional scientific and technical services – 23,152; Rental hiring and real estate services – 21,171; Construction – 18,540; Owner-occupied property organisation – 18,321; Financial and insurance services – 16,973; Health care and social assistance – 16,843; Wholesale trade – 14,202; Transport, postal and warehousing – 13,012; Retail trade – 12,998; Agriculture – 12,431.

Beside the bar graph a doughnut chart shows the share of each broad industry group to the total production economy of New Zealand in 2018: Service industries 65%; Goods producing 19%; Taxes 9%; Primary 7%.

Ends


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