Record GDP for Whanganui

Whanganui had record GDP growth in 2022 and saw significant positive growth across all key economic indicators.

February 02, 2023

Whanganui’s GDP grew by 5.6 per cent, ahead of the national figure of 5.3 per cent, and also outperformed neighbouring areas Palmerston North (5.1 per cent) and New Plymouth (4.6 per cent). Whanganui’s growth is the highest it has recorded since 2005 when growth was 5.8 per cent.

Whanganui also recorded employment growth of 2.7 per cent, with a record 21,368 jobs in the region. Unemployment fell to 3.8 per cent in 2022, down from 5.7 per cent in 2021.

Whanganui & Partners is sharing an update on the region’s economic position following the release of 2022 figures from data partner Infometrics.

The Economic Development Agency’s Chief Executive Hannah Middleton said it was encouraging to see both record growth and figures outperforming national averages.

In line with Whanganui’s GDP growth, its top seven industries also grew. “We saw growth in our manufacturing sector, primary industries, retail, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services,” Middleton said.

“We are seeing a reflection of Whanganui’s strength and diversity, this helps our economy continue to remain resilient and agile.”

Middleton said the data also showed Whanganui’s businesses and workers were becoming more efficient. “Along with job growth and this impressive GDP figure, we saw productivity growth of 2.8 per cent in Whanganui last year, compared to Aotearoa’s average 2.3 per cent.”

Productivity growth is linked to both the skill levels of workers and their efficiency, as well as the different amounts of machinery, technology and land used as production inputs.

Whanganui’s population grew by 0.6 per cent in 2022, ahead of New Zealand’s average of 0.2 per cent. This population growth was mainly due to internal migration and also reflected a positive natural increase (births minus deaths). International migration was not possible with borders closed.

Middleton said Whanganui also saw earnings growth of 5.3 per cent and an increase in household income of 4.9 per cent, on par with the national average.

“Household income is a fundamental measure of living standards and a good reflection of the economic health of our region. By looking at household income, we are able to see a more accurate measure of our community’s standard of living and ability to afford housing than by looking at individual earnings alone.”

Household income reflects multiple sources including earnings from employment (wages and salaries), earnings from self-employment, allowances, benefits and superannuation.

Whanganui’s housing affordability in 2022 again compared favourably to the national average. Whanganui sat at 6.3 on the affordability scale compared to New Zealand’s position at 8.7 (a lower ranking is favourable). The housing affordability scale compares average current house values with mean household income.

“This favourable affordability outcome means we continue to be an attractive place to move to, invest and work in, and we can see that in our excellent population growth measure.”

Middleton said Whanganui had tourism growth of 3 per cent in 2022, compared to the national average of 4.3 per cent.

“We can see that our local visitor industry is recovering well from the pressures the pandemic introduced and with events back on, and travel restrictions lifted, we expect the industry to continue to improve.”

Middleton said Whanganui & Partners would be updating its Economic Dashboard.

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