The Manawatū District economy is estimated to contract by 3.5% (↓$42.2m) 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 district is estimated to contract by 6.2% over the remainder of 2020, compared to 6.4% across New Zealand.

These estimates are from the July 2020 Manawatū District 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.

District 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.

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

Electronic card spending

(% change from same week in 2019)
Source: Marketview
  • Manawatū
  • New Zealand
Weekly retail electronic card spending showed a average weekly increase of between 3-12% for the months of December and January 2020/2021 compared to the same weeks in 2019, with the peak being over the Christmas period at 12.2%.

Number of Jobseeker Support recipients

Source: Statistics New Zealand
  • Manawatū
The number of Jobseeker Support recipients in the Manawatu District increased by 41%, from 654 in April 2020 to 923 in November 2020. In contrast, the number of Jobseeker Support recipients in New Zealand has increased 56% over the same period.

Trade Me job advertisement index

Index: Feb-20=100 (four-week rolling average)
Source: Sense Partners analysis of Trade Me data
  • Manawatū District
  • Manawatū-Whanganui Region
  • New Zealand
The number of job advertisements on Trade Me showed steady recovery in November, when levels returned to that comparable with February 2020, prior to lockdown.

Value of building consents issued

(Years ended December, $ million)
Source: Statistics New Zealand
  • Manawatū District
Residential consents decreased to $81 million in the year end November 2020, down from $92 million for the year end November 2019. While, non-residential consents also decreased to $12 million, down from $18 million 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: QV


April 2020

Average weekly rent

Average for past 12 months
Source: MBIE