North Canterbury Business Opinion Surveys
The North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey is undertaken every six months (April and October) and gives an indication of the mood of our business community. This survey is broadly in line with the NZIER New Zealand Business Opinion Survey which allows us to make comparisons between North Canterbury and New Zealand.
The latest survey took place in October 2023. The results show a significant increase in confidence about the coming months, from North Canterbury businesses. Business confidence has bounced back to positive territory from the very low results that we saw six months ago (net -52% in April to net +6% now).
The latest NZIER survey shows that confidence across New Zealand remains low (net -53%).
The survey was conducted prior to the 2023 General Election, and discussions with participating businesses highlighted the probably cause for the increase in confidence was twofold:
Despite the large lift in confidence, businesses are still doing it tough right now with squeezed margins the most obvious sign of this. Businesses are confident of better profitability over the next six months.
Businesses in North Canterbury continue to grow with net +13% of employers reporting increased staffing levels. Net +20% of employers report that it is now easier to find unskilled staff than six months ago although finding skilled staff remains difficult.
We also noted that businesses are continuing to hold off on discretionary investment, with building developments on pause and plant/equipment investment flat.
Waimakariri Quarterly Infometrics Report
Commissioned by the Waimakariri District Council, Infometrics provides us with quarterly reports detailing what the economic situation in the Waimakariri is. These reports provide many details on employment, building consents, gross domestic product, accommodation, house sales and prices, and retail and vehicle sales.
The latest report is for the quarter ending September 2023.
Waimakariri is experiencing an excellent level of GDP growth at 2.4%, outpacing national growth of 1.7%. This is fuelled by a strong performance in the construction and professional service sectors.
All the numbers appear to be heading in the right direction, with employment up, unemployment down, consumer spending up and guest nights up.
The only real negative is dairy payout numbers which are lower than previous years and not expected to improve in the short term.
Residential consents are down 6.2% (compared to 20% nationally). Residential sales are up 2.7% from previous year, a strong result given the national house sales declined 14%. Commercial consents have rocketed up 177.7% (compared to 3.9% nationally). This is a fast growing business community.
Overall, this is a very positive picture for Waimakariri and shows that the positivity shown by the business community in the North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey released earlier this month is reflected in this report.