Coast jobs increase

30 June 2023
Development West Coast
Despite the challenging economic climate, new data shows the West Coast has experienced rising employment, fewer Jobseeker recipients, and increased visitor spending.

Recently released data from StatsNZ shows an increase of 240 jobs over the past year on the West Coast, with employment rising from 14,692 in May 2022 to 14,932 in May 2023. Job levels have also surpassed pre-pandemic levels, with 503 more jobs in the region than in May 2019.

Source: StatsNZ

The number of Jobseeker recipients on the West Coast has also fallen. According to the Ministry of Social Development, the number of West Coasters receiving a Jobseeker benefit dropped from 1,458 in May 2022 to 1,350 in May 2023, a decrease of 120 recipients.

Data from Seek shows a 4% increase in job advertisements on the West Coast over the year to May 2023, a contrast to the national trend which saw a 22% decrease.

A recent report from Trade Me also shows the West Coast had the highest salary growth in New Zealand (+8.3%), and the third highest average salaries ($70,875), based on job ads during the second quarter of the year.

Development West Coast Chief Executive Heath Milne says the West Coast economy is showing signs of resilience despite the challenging economic landscape.

Milne noted that employment growth has remained steady across the region. “The Coast has been experiencing job growth in mining, healthcare and manufacturing. We’re seeing a bit of a seasonal dip in tourism and hospitality, but overall employment levels are still better than they were this time last year, and well above pre-pandemic levels.”

“It’s encouraging to see the Coast holding its own despite the economic headwinds, but we’re not recession proof. Just like the rest of the country, our business community is grappling with increased costs from high interest rates and inflationary pressures.”

Recent tourism data from MarketView, shows continued growth in visitor spending on the West Coast. Expenditure in May increased 13% compared to the same month in the previous year, rising from $9.18m in May 2022 to $10.41m in May 2023. Spending was also 7% above pre-pandemic levels in May 2019.

Domestic spending on the West Coast was up by 14% compared to 2019 levels. Canterbury residents were the most significant domestic contributors to the West Coast visitor economy, spending $2.9m here during May. They were closely followed by Otago ($0.8m) and Auckland ($0.6m).

On the international front, visitor expenditure has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, achieving a 94% recovery. Australia was our biggest international market contributing 34% of total spending in May, followed by the United States (22%), Europe (13%), and the United Kingdom (13%).

DWC’s winter visitor campaign is currently underway, dubbed "There's worse places to be this winter".

Patrick Dault, DWC's Destination and Tourism Manager, shared, "The winter campaign has been off to a promising start. Our goal is to promote a deeper engagement with our visitors, highlighting the values we hold dear on the Coast."

The campaign provides inspiring content embodying the West Coast's unique charm and understated sense of humour.

Couple who moved to West Coast say they haven't looked back / 1News

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