Infometrics gross domestic product (GDP) estimates suggest economic growth in the region was 2.3% in the year to December 2014, an improvement from the 0.9% increase in the year to December 2013.
Alan Cockrell, chief executive of Vision Manawatū, noted that while non-residential building consent values rose by just 1.6% in the year to December 2014, consent values had risen strongly in the December quarter. There has been further strong growth in the first two months of 2015 and more projects currently being prepared. The final stage of the New Zealand Post consolidation of its mail processing centre in Palmerston North is being completed this month and the closure of the mail processing facility in Petone.
The rise in unemployment in the region is a concern but it reflects the net overseas migration gain of 586 people in the year to December 2014. This is well ahead of the ten-year average of an annual gain of just 85 people a year and is making it harder for people to enter the labour market. The Sort-it Expo being held on Tuesday 5th May is aimed at providing both young adults and people re-entering the workforce with information about future careers, training options and connecting with employers within the region
Chief executive of Destination Manawatū, Lance Bickford welcomed the growth in guest nights in commercial accommodation in the region in the year to December. Visitors stayed a total of 425,043 nights in commercial accommodation in the region, an increase of 6.3% from 2013.
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