"The verdict from the report on New Zealand's Core Cities is great news," says Deputy Mayor Jim Jefferies. "Our smart young workforce has an average age of 33, and has notched up the fifth fastest growth rate for earnings of the seven core cities."
"In comparison with the other core cities, we have an above-average share of people with a Doctorate, and a lower-than-average share of people with no qualification. The report says our housing is more affordable than the other core cities.
"It adds up to a terrific story," says Jim, "it is concrete evidence that our city provides great opportunities for young people and for families."
Local Government New Zealand set up the Core Cities research in order to assess the economic contribution and core strengths of New Zealand's largest 'core' cities, Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
The Palmerston North report was prepared by the council and gives the city the opportunity to collaborate with the other cities, share best practice and use the research as a basis for economic development strategy.
"This report helps us understand the role and economic contribution Palmerston North makes to the New Zealand economy," says Lawrence Yule, Local Government New Zealand president. "It pinpoints Palmerston North's competitive advantage and distinctiveness and shows where the city's collaboration can add value to the New Zealand Inc. export effort."
Economic policy advisor Peter Crawford says the report shows that Palmerston North's economy is well-placed to withstand any downturn.
The city's fastest growing sectors, health care and social assistance, public administration and safety, education and training, accounting for over 60 percent of economic activity (earnings), and nearly 70 percent of earnings growth between 2002 and 2012.
Peter Crawford says other key points from the report are:
- Economic activity is significantly larger than our population of 83,000 suggests, with earnings and job count measures indicating it is closer in size to Dunedin and Tauranga. This reflects the fact that 20 percent of the workforce lives outside the city boundaries, and means that economic growth in Palmerston North has contributed to strong population growth in neighbouring towns.
- Palmerston North city's share of New Zealand average annual earnings in the year ended March 2012 was 2.1 percent, close to the 2.3 percent share for Tauranga and 2.4 percent share for Dunedin.
- Our central location, compact layout, the closeness of sporting venues to accommodation and our strong retail centre gives us a particular strength in hosting large tournaments at Arena Manawatū and privately operated sports facilities.
- There's rapid change in the ethnicity of our population, with our Māori, Pacific People and Asian populations increasing at a faster growth than the New Zealand average.
- The quality of higher education institutions based in Palmerston North is an important factor in attracting young people and international migrants to the city.
To read this report: Go to pncc.co.nz and view the economic update reports page.