The COVID-19 pandemic has had major ramifications for the New Zealand economy and put a spotlight on the structure of local economies. One of the key determinants of how regional economies are performing is how much of a focus they have on either of the tourism or primary sectors. But a bigger issue looms for some areas, with some key industrial players rapidly reassessing their future, which could remove a substantial chunk of activity from some local economies.
It’s abundantly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn isn’t hitting all groups equally, with job losses more concentrated among groups like Māori, young people, and women. Infometrics analysis has also determined that many who are facing job losses are likely to be renters.
The announcement of community transmission of COVID-19 in August has been a reality check on our progress towards recovery. With Auckland now under Alert Level 3 restrictions, and the rest of New Zealand at Alert Level 2, the economic outlook has turned darker. This note provides our initial analysis of the economic effects of the changes, as well as an update on how our view of the economic outlook is changing.
The latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor shows a substantial hit to regional economies from the COVID-19 pandemic and New Zealand’s restrictions during the Level 4 lockdown alongside the move down the Alert Levels. The Monitor provides the most comprehensive analysis of regional economic changes so far during the pandemic.
With the 2020 Election in September closing in fast, Infometrics has again examined how the economy has performed this electoral term and what that might mean come election day. Yet as New Zealand heads to the polls in just under three months, there needs to be a much greater focus on how to rebuild the economy. Jobs, and how to keep and create them, will be the defining issue of Election 2020.
New Zealand’s swift shift towards Alert Level 1 has seen the economy regain momentum more quickly than we had anticipated in the initial stages of the pandemic. Despite a feeling of cautious optimism around the country, we believe those gains will be lost as the economic realities of COVID-19 set in, with New Zealand an isolated lifeboat amid a tempest of global mayhem.
New Zealand is slowly moving from the response to the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift in focus means we’re trying to understand what New Zealand’s recovery path might look like, and where job opportunities might be five years from now. In an earlier article, we looked at industry-level job losses in the short term to March 2021.
Continued calls for infrastructure investment and shovel-ready projects have yet to be matched with actual spending, but this problem isn’t a new one. Infometrics’ analysis of international data shows that New Zealand has been investing in infrastructure at a lower rate than other comparable countries for the last 30 years.
New Zealand is set to experience a second wave of unemployment as the wage subsidy comes to an end. Businesses have already started to “consult” staff about workforce levels, and with the wage subsidy starting to run out this week, more job losses are in store, especially if that store is The Warehouse or Max.
Facing the greatest economic downturn in a century, Budget 2020 was always going to present a grim picture of rising unemployment, lower economic activity, and ballooning debt. But the Budget also lays a firm foundation for the economy to recover, with spending on areas needed to both respond to, and recover from, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn.