Infometrics gross domestic product (GDP) estimates for the March quarter suggest GDP growth in the region was 2.9% up over the March quarter last year.
The high milk pay-out price, improved migration and strong growth in visitor spending are among the factors supporting stronger growth in the region.
Alan Cockrell, chief executive of Vision Manawatū, welcomed data showing an improvement in annual net migration in the region of 581 people. This increase is largely due to a 30% decline in the number of people leaving the region to move overseas in the March quarter and is a useful indicator of increasing confidence in the region.
GDP growth in the Manawatū region was 1.5% in the year to March, reflecting weak growth back in the June quarter in 2013. The short-term impact of last year's drought earlier in 2013 meant cows were dried off earlier, reducing milk production in the June quarter. The current estimate of 2.9% GDP growth in the March quarter is almost double the rate of the annual increase for the year to March 2014.
Chief executive of Destination Manawatū, Lance Bickford said tourism spending data showed the region is continuing to experience strong growth in domestic and international visitor spending.
Domestic visitor spending in Palmerston North rose by 10.6% in the March quarter (compared with the same period last year), while domestic visitor spending in New Zealand increased by 1.5%. International visitor spending in the City was 9% higher in the March quarter.
The Manawatū Region Quarterly Economic Monitor is produced by Infometrics for Palmerston North City Council and a copy of the full report can be found at pncc.govt.nz