People Head for Capital as Economy Reboots

10 June 2014

Quarterly economic data for Wellington City released today indicates that the local economy is continuing to recover, with increased net migration, improved retail sales, high levels of building consents, and a drop in unemployment.

The Quarterly Economic Monitor commissioned by Wellington City Council and conducted by Infometrics reports on economy activity for the year to March 2014.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Conditions in Wellington’s labour market are improving, with the unemployment at 6.4%, down from 7.5% a year earlier. Improving job prospects are encouraging more migration to Wellington, with net migration over the March year totalling more than 1000 people, compared with a low of 250 two years ago. 
  • Residential building consents grew an exceptional 49% over the year to March, pushed up by a large number of apartment consents in the December quarter - compared with a national increase of 28.6% over the same period. 
  • Non-residential building activity has also risen to a four year high, with consents to the value of $302 million issued in Wellington City during the year to March - a 44.6% increase. 
  • Retail trade data shows retail sales in Wellington grew 3.9% in the year to March - slightly above national growth of 3.7%. 

"These results send a positive message that the Wellington economy is making a good recovery across a broad range of industry sectors," says Councillor Jo Coughlan, the Chair of the Council's Economic Growth and Arts Committee.

"Improved job prospects and increased net migration are great signs that we are making progress towards the goals set out in our Economic Growth Strategy - particularly the Destination Wellington programme, which aims to attract and retain talent by making the city a great place to live, work and do business," says Cr Coughlan.

"It is also encouraging to see improvement in the retail sector in Wellington - an area which has faced significant challenges in the past few years."