Horowhenua closing its economic gap

Published on 07 March 2018

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After decades of stagnant growth, Horowhenua is closing economic gaps with New Zealand’s many higher performing economies.

The 2017 Infometrics Annual Economic Profile for Horowhenua shows an increase in job opportunities and earnings as industries experience productivity gains in the District.

Job numbers grew by 2.0% over the year, due to economic growth across a range of industries. Accommodation and food services experienced the largest increase, with employers taking on 47 new staff, due to increasing investment and revenues in these areas. The construction sector also continued to generate new jobs, employing an extra 31 people, off the back of a buoyant residential property market.

Industries have also experienced a rise in productivity, which is a measure of GDP per employee. Productivity in Horowhenua increased by 1.7% over the year to March 2017, compared to 1.2% in New Zealand.

“Businesses are not only taking on more staff, they are actually being a whole lot more productive. Better yet, these gains are being reflected in the amount of money staff are taking home each week in their pay packets,” said Horowhenua District Council’s Economic Development Manager Shanon Grainger.

Wages in the District have risen by 4.7% for the year to March 2016, compared with a 3.1% increase across New Zealand. Horowhenua had the seventh highest level of wage growth across New Zealand’s 66 districts and cities. Data for earnings has a two-year delay. 

“This reflects a real increase in earnings for the people in our community,” Mr Grainger said.

“Over the past few years businesses in Horowhenua have been able to strike a balance between productivity gains and better employee earnings. Businesses are generating more value from their staff, and the staff themselves are realising more value via improving wages.”

Mr Grainger said this means many families are better off financially. However he acknowledged the rising cost of housing has affected those renting property in the District. 

“Although we mustn’t lose sight of the challenges we have, these are some strong results for Horowhenua. The District has more jobs, our people are earning more, and our businesses and communities are doing better as a result.  We’re slowly but surely closing the gap.”