Infometrics August newsletter
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August 2018

This month Gareth Kiernan takes a look at the difficulties facing the non-residential construction industry, especially in the wake of Ebert Construction’s collapse.

We then take a look at what the future holds; Gareth examines the impact of future automation on our workforce and Shaun Twaddle highlights the “Got a Trade? Got it Made!” week, proudly sponsored by Infometrics.

Brad Olsen considers New Zealand’s vulnerability to Trump’s foreign policy, and rounds out with our regular “Chart of the Month”, where he looks at infrastructure spending in New Zealand.

Another construction firm bites the dust
The placement of Ebert Construction in receivership continues the trail of woe in the non-residential construction industry. Businesses in the industry seem to be facing ongoing profitability problems, as reflected by the difficulties experienced by Fletcher Building and Hawkins (among others) over the last couple of years. Yet these problems are occurring despite total construction activity growing by an average of 5.6%pa since mid-2011.
Putting automation in perspective
The potential job losses from automation between now and 2036 could be more than five times the job losses in shrinking occupations since 2000. At a regional level, areas with faster economic, employment, and population growth have generally exhibited more dynamism in their workforces over the last 20 years. As a result, it seems likely that they will be better able to adapt to changing workplace needs in coming years.
Trump’s tariffs threaten to start a trade war
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Last month, US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, alongside tariffs on over US$34b of Chinese imports. Taking into account tariffs imposed earlier this year, about US$90b of Chinese imports to the US are now covered, with threats that all US$505b of Chinese imports could yet be hit.
Chart of The Month: Doing the numbers on infrastructure
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Infrastructure spending around New Zealand is a hot topic. Our Chart of the Month for August details our understanding of infrastructure spending across New Zealand and what is being spent where.