Thames-Coromandel District Quarterly economic monitor - December 2018

Overview

Indicator Thames-Coromandel District Waikato Region New Zealand
Annual average % change
Gross domestic product
2.6%
2.6%
2.7%
Traffic flow
4.6%
2.0%
2.7%
Health Enrolments
3.1%
2.0%
1.9%
Consumer spending
6.8%
5.8%
4.5%
Residential consents
-10.0%
6.7%
6.1%
Non-residential consents
67%
28%
9.0%
House prices*
3.7%
6.8%
2.3%
House sales
-5.1%
4.4%
3.1%
Guest nights
2.9%
1.3%
2.3%
Tourism expenditure
5.8%
5.4%
4.3%
Car registrations
-9.9%
-2.7%
-6.7%
Commercial vehicle registrations
8.5%
3.7%
1.6%
Jobseeker Support recipients
0.2%
7.9%
4.8%
Level
Unemployment rate
2.9%
4.0%
4.3%
* Annual percentage change (latest quarter compared to a year earlier)

Overview of Thames-Coromandel District

Economic conditions in Thames-Coromandel remained healthy over the closing stages of 2018. Infometrics provisionally estimates that Thames-Coromandel’s economy expanded by 2.6% over the December 2018 year, close to national growth of 2.7% over the same period. Growth over recent years has been supported by strong job creation, but productivity in Thames-Coromandel has struggled.

An expanding population has pushed up spending on goods and services throughout the Coromandel. We have recently begun using enrolments at primary health providers as a timely proxy for population growth. The data shows that health enrolments in Thames-Coromandel grew 3.1% across 2018, following 4.3% growth in 2017. By comparison, the data suggests population growth of approximately 2.0% across Waikato as a whole.

Most spending and investment indicators that we follow on a quarterly basis remain in expansionary territory. Although both car registrations and new dwelling consents have pegged back from recent peaks, they remain well above historical averages. But there is no shortage of other construction work at present to keep builders busy, with non-residential consents soaring 67% in 2018.

Consumer spending data from Marketview shows that electronic card spending climbed 6.8% in the December 2018 year, compared to 4.5% growth nationally. Spending in Thames-Coromandel grew by 8.8% the previous year. A key contributor to spending growth has been the visitor economy. Visitor spending in Thames-Coromandel rose 5.8% in 2018, while commercial guest nights increased 2.9% over the same period.

We are not reading too much into the slight uptick in the number of Jobseeker Support recipients at present. Thames-Coromandel’s unemployment rate remains at decade-long lows, while the recently released Infometrics Regional Economic Profile showed that employment growth remained healthy in the March 2018 tax year. Key drivers of employment growth were construction, health care and professional services.

Overview of national economy

Throughout 2018, business confidence indicators suggested the New Zealand economy was going to crash and burn. But although growth slowed slightly, there were no other signs we were staring down the barrel of a full- blown recession. Looking to 2019, New Zealand’s domestic economy remains in a similar position to 12 months ago: prospects of middling growth, somewhat hampered by capacity constraints and a tight labour market, and with some of the biggest potential shifts being driven by government policies (such as migration or the housing market). In contrast to this largely unchanged domestic picture, many question marks have appeared during the last year over the international economic environment.