Infometrics September newsletter
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September 2020

In our September 2020 newsletter, the Infometrics team examines how the economy continues to evolve, and what will drive change. Senior Economist Brad Olsen leads with an analysis of regional economic diversity, and why the COVID-19 pandemic might be the end of some Think Big projects.

Economist Paul Barkle dissects changing migration patterns and how this area will influence New Zealand’s labour market and our skills needs. Economist Andrew Beattie digs into new Zealand’s trading outcomes, finding some sweetness among the figures which are supporting the economy.

Chief Economist Adolf Stoombergen looks at the idea of pizza in schools as a policy development worth exploring, and how examples like this highlight the importance of proper policy analysis.

Finally, Brad rounds out the newsletter with a Chart of the Month showing that renters are likely to be hit more immediately by job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn.

Industry concentrations, and the fall of Think Big?
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.
Migration, huh! (What is it good for?)
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, migration movements have presented themselves as a puzzling aspect of New Zealand’s economic path forward. Migration has many effects on both the labour market and the wider economy, and will remain a key, but rapidly changing, factor moving ahead, so it’s worth paying attention to.
The world still needs to eat
Although the movement of people across the globe has come to a near standstill, New Zealand’s exports mean that we still have a large connection to the outside world. Revenue from goods exports are income for many New Zealanders and have thankfully been quite resilient to the effects of COVID-19. It’s hard finding cheerful good news stories during a global pandemic and subsequent global recession.
Pizza in schools: a policy nirvana?
At Infometrics we are often amazed, even annoyed, at ill-considered policy proposals that are targeted at solving a single issue, without recognising the law of unintended consequences – both positive and negative.
Chart of the Month: Job losses to hit renters first
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.