Latest economic report shows strong recovery for Timaru District

Timaru District has been experiencing a strong economic recovery in the September 2020 quarter, that includes consumer spending growth of 6 per cent (compared to the same period last year) and an annualised boost in house values of 5 per cent.

The figures have just been released by economic analysts Infometrics and show the overall growth in the economy in Timaru district rated at 0.8 per cent, compared with the national decline of 3.3 per cent.  The Canterbury region has also recorded a decline of just over 3 per cent.

“Feedback from our businesses over the past few months has been pretty positive, and now we’ve got these figures in the quarterly economic report to back this up,” said Venture Timaru chief executive Nigel Davenport.

“Given the pessimistic outlook that is being reported in other parts of the country and internationally as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to have an effect, it’s very encouraging to see our district is performing so well,” he said.

While the consumer spending from locals and visitors is up for the quarter, it is fractionally down by 1.2 per cent over the year to the end of September and therefore has not quite offset the loss of spending as a result of the national Level Four lockdown.

“But the good news is that, although there are ongoing challenges associated with the pandemic that will be with us for a while, we are tracking in the right direction and this is also clear evidence of our local community supporting our local businesses,” said Mr Davenport.

The predicted job losses as an effect of COVID-19 appear to have had minimal effect in Timaru District at this stage, with the unemployment rate recorded at 3.7 per cent for the year to the end of September.

“Our businesses still need more staff and that’s going to continue as the summer season kicks in.  As a result, Venture Timaru has launched a campaign ‘We’ve got jobs’ to targeted areas around the country, with the hope of attracting skilled staff.”

Mr Davenport said that Timaru’s agriculture and food processing sectors continue to be a key source of strength in the district.

The quarterly economic report shows the district’s dairy farmers are expected to receive a payout of $377 million this season, down slightly from $395 million last year.