Lockdown crimped Dunedin economy

Dunedin's economy had been continuing to grow until last year’s Covid-19 lockdown, a new report shows.

The Dunedin City Council’s annual economic profile, prepared by economic company Infometrics, will be considered by the council’s economic development committee next week.

The report details the growth in Dunedin’s economy until March 2020 and some recent figures from Statistics New Zealand to March 2021.

Infometrics found jobs in the city increased by more than 7000 over the seven years to March 2020, compared with just 2288 from 2003 to 2013.

GDP was also increasing at an average annual rate of 2.6% from 2013 to 2020.

Compared with 2013, average household incomes were up 3.9% a year from $63,230 to $82,773.

In that same period, filled job numbers also increased on average 1.6% per year from 59,000 to 66,000.

Strong economic growth was expected in the year to March 2020, Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said.

"We had back-to-back growth over a sustained time so it was not a surprise," he said.

That growth would have continued into 2021 if Covid-19 had not appeared.

"We believe it would have, but we were starting to see constraints around skilled labour."

Covid-19 changed areas of economic performance that would have never had been predicted, Mr Christie said.

Two overarching goals were set in 2014 when the city began its economic development strategy.

The goals were to create 10,000 extra jobs over 10 years and an average $10,000 extra income for each person.

Mr Christie believed the figures to March 2020 were on track to meet those goals.

"We would have expected that we would have, within that 10-year period, been pretty close to, if not surpassing those targets."

A council staff report with the Infometrics report said payroll filing data from Stats NZ showed job numbers in March this year were on par with a year ago, equalling 0% growth.

It also said migration from New Zealand’s biggest cities into regional centres, including Dunedin, was expected to continue.

Mr Christie was confident Dunedin’s economy would continue to grow in a post-Covid economy.

"That is not to say there won’t be some barriers to overcome with those groups who may be more disadvantaged through the loss of jobs during this time."

The council has commissioned another report from Infometrics to provide an early update of Dunedin’s economic profile to March 2021, taking in the effects of Covid-19.

That would be delivered to the council later this year, the staff report said.

riley.kennedy@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Well Dah! Walk around the city and see all the empty shops!

 

 

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