Economic impact indicators

The Manawatū-Whanganui economy is estimated to contract by 3.4% (↓$382.5m) over 2020 as a direct result of level 3 and level 4 restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19, compared to the national average of 3.7%.

Overall, for levels 1 to 4, the region is estimated to contract by 6.2% over the remainder of 2020, compared to 6.4% across New Zealand.

These estimates are from the June 2020 Regional Economic Impact Assessment (EIA), compiled by economists at Palmerston North City Council and Manawatū District Council. The purpose of this EIA is to provide a baseline for understanding the direct impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on economic activity at the territorial authority and regional scale.

Regional impacts have been estimated by applying the industry level and broad economic impacts estimated within the RBNZ ‘Economic impacts of COVID-19 containment measures’ publication to local and regional economic structure.

Please note that the estimates are based on the RBNZ’s forecast at the time of publication (6 May 2020), which included assumptions of border restrictions and impacts on economic activity in alert levels 1 and 2.

Given that actual economic impacts may differ from estimated economic impacts, a range of metrics are included in the dashboard section of this website. The dashboards report on a variety of metrics and contains data collected on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. To access a more up-to-date understanding of the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on regional and sub-regional economic performance, readers are referred to these data.

It should also be noted that GDP is only one measure of impact. The initial focus on GDP recognises the need to get quick, early reporting on potential impacts completed using a commonly used metric and a recognised methodology. A wider approach to understanding impacts may be used to supplement GDP data in the future.

Regional dashboard

The dashboard below provides some key data and commentary around the impacts of COVID-19 on the regional economy.

While data sets are updated regularly to ensure the information provided is as up-to-date as possible, please be aware that the figures do not represent a real-time snapshot.

Number of Jobseeker Support recipients

Source: Ministry of Social Development
  • Manawatū-Whanganui Region
The number of Ministry of Social Development Jobseeker Support recipients in the Manawatū-Whanganui is steadily increasing . From start of December 2020, there has been an increase from 11,348 to the current peak in the second week of January 2021 being 11,739, an increase of 391. In contrast, the number of recipients in New Zealand is also continuing to increase slowly, with an increase of nearly 10,000 over the same period.

Monthly employment indicator – filled jobs (seasonally adjusted)

Source: Statistics New Zealand
  • Manawatū-Whanganui Region
In November 2020, there was a 1.35% increase in filled jobs in the Manawatū-Whanganui region. Over the same period, the number of filled jobs in New Zealand also increased by 1.27%. The number of filled jobs includes full-time and part-time employees, and self-employed workers who pay themselves a wage or salary.

Trade Me new job advertisement index

Index: Feb-20=100 (four-week rolling average)
Source: Sense Partners analysis of Trade Me data
  • Manawatū-Whanganui Region
  • New Zealand
The change in the number of job advertisements in the Manawatū-Whanganui region listed on Trade Me has remained steady, following recovery over November 2020 to levels above those in February 2020. Overall, the Manawatū-Whanganui region is showing strong growth across job categories of: Professional and Business; Construction, Engineering, Architecture; Manufacturing and Trades; and Healthcare.

Value of new building consents

Value of building consents issued (years ended December, $ million)
Source: Statistics New Zealand
  • Manawatū-Whanganui Region
The value of building consents issued in the Manawatū-Whanganui region in the 12 months to October 2020 was $724 million, an increase of over 10.5% from the previous year. The value of consents in New Zealand declined by 0.14% over the same period.

Summary Table

as at 30 June 2019


Source: Statistics New Zealand


Year ended March 2020

GDP ($ million)

2019 prices, chain-volume series
Source: Infometrics


as at February 2019

Workforce (no.)

Includes an estimate for the self-employed
Source: Infometrics


Year to March 2019

Median earnings

Full quarter jobs
Source: Statistics New Zealand


Year to March 2019

Annual salaries and wages ($ million)

Source: Statistics New Zealand


April 2020

Average house price

Average for past 3 months
Source: REINZ


April 2020

Average weekly rent

Average for past 12 months
Source: MBIE