Timaru District economy shows positive growth in latest figures for Sept year

Timaru District’s economy is showing confidence, with growth of 2.0% in GDP recorded in the latest figures released for the September 2017 year and positive indicators of spending and investment in the district.

The figures are released from Infometrics in the Quarterly Economic Monitor produced for Timaru District’s economic development agency Aoraki Development.

The year to September 2017 shows Timaru District’s GDP is at $2,330 million, and while the 2% growth is slightly below the national average of 2.5% growth, Infometrics states that it is a marked improvement from the figure of -0.4% a year ago.

“The positive growth in the GDP figures are really encouraging and Timaru District certainly is tracking well compared to other regions around the country. There is definite optimism here for how the district is performing,” said Aoraki Development operations manager Di Hay.

“It’s good to see the figures showing consumers are in good spirits with retail spending up, recording an increase of 2.9% compared to the previous year and we are ahead of the national average for car and commercial vehicle registrations,” she said.

While there is a drop in guest nights recorded of 2.4% for the commercial accommodation sector, Airbnb has soared by 116% over the past year and tourism expenditure has grown by 6.0%.

Timaru District's total dairy payout for the 2016/17 season is estimated to have been approximately $321m and if production levels from last season are maintained in the 2017/18 season, the payout is expected to be approximately $341m, $19.9m higher than last season.

“When our primary sector does well, it flows on throughout the community,” said Hay.

The primary sector in Timaru District represents approximately 30% of the economy in either manufacturing (18%) or agriculture and forestry & fishing (12%).

“We’ve had a drop in house sales in the September year along with the national trend, but Timaru’s house prices have risen by 2.8% with the average house value now $349,006 compared to $637,670 nationally.”

Unemployment has stayed low despite the district’s population rising by 400 in the June 2017 year.