Auckland Council’s chief economist, Geoff Cooper, said yesterday the region’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7% in the June quarter, down from 7.3% a year earlier and the lowest quarterly rate since 2011.
That was in keeping with 2.9% economic growth for the June year – quiet compared to the 7.2% growth rate in Christchurch, but strong against the overall 1.5% growth for the rest of New Zealand. Mr Cooper said Auckland businesses & households remained moderately upbeat about near-term prospects for growth.
Writing in the council’s latest Auckland Economic Quarterly, released yesterday, Mr Cooper said: “Employment growth continues to broaden, with both construction & manufacturing sectors now seeing a lift. Despite moving in the right direction however, employment growth remains sluggish, and low numbers of job vacancy listings suggest more of the same in the months to come.
“Encouragingly, business confidence & hiring intentions firmed in the September quarter; consumer confidence dipped, but Aucklanders remain among the most optimistic in the country.
“Uncertainty about the impact of loan:value ratios by the Reserve Bank, a soft jobs market and the impact of slow trading partner growth could all have weighed on confidence. Nevertheless, the financial situation of those employed has improved with solid wage growth, weak inflation & rising asset prices.”
Mr Cooper said it was too early to see the impact of the loan:value restrictions on house price growth & lending. “Although consent numbers are increasing, they remain well below levels required to meet population growth, let alone address pent-up demand.
“However, the undersupply of housing facing Auckland could have been much worse were it not for the significant slowdown in population growth revealed in the new census numbers. Statistics NZ has not yet estimated the final population count (to take account of residents temporarily overseas), but the pace of growth halved between 2001-06 and 2006-13, from 2.4% to 1.2%. Despite this slowdown, Auckland still accounted for more than half of all New Zealand’s population growth.”
Attribution: Council release.