News: Economic monitoring report


Prepared by the Eastern Bay of Plenty Regional Economic Development Trust (Toi-EDA), the Eastern Bay Region Economic Update to March 2014 provides an analysis of economic trends within the eastern Bay of Plenty region over the past year and compares these results to the period from 2005 to 2013, when the previous analysis was completed. 
The report covers demographic trends, the current labour force, economic indicators, the direction of economic growth and the current industry profile.  Together these results provide a snapshot of the current conditions and project the economic outlook for the eastern Bay.
Toi EDA Manager, John Galbraith, explained the significance of the report and the importance for local planning and business confidence.
“We know that economic performance is uneven across New Zealand’s regions – we know that there are significant differences between cities and regions, differences in household incomes, unemployment and population growth. This report is an invaluable resource for the eastern Bay as it looks closely into our own set of unique factors and considers the economic outcomes for us locally.
“In a broad sense we know that the back story for us here is the same as that facing much of rural New Zealand – we are losing working age population to bigger centres, we have an aging population and our productivity is increasing but with lower labour needs. This report provides us with the data we need to consider how we turn these statistics around to our advantage,” Mr Galbraith said.
The report notes that GDP per employee (a formal measure of average labour productivity) for the eastern Bay of Plenty is currently $98,100, nearly six percent higher than the national average*. This demonstrates the productivity growth that brings many advantages to the region but also leads to lower employment rates. 
“The eastern Bay has a higher level of unemployment than the national average, but our productivity figures are also much higher. So while less of our people are employed, those that are, earn more. We have a very productive economy that we should be proud of but we need to expand that to involve more people,” Mr Galbraith said.
The Toi EDA Board approved the report at its last meeting and encouraged the member Councils to use the data to help planning activities for coming years.