The Waikato region is better off than most. But it’s time to be bold and embrace change as pressures
consolidate. Anticipated growth in the region is creating a talent shortage - turbo charging opportunities
for skilled Aucklanders looking for good jobs, education and a better quality of life.
This is the first of our new Quarterly Waikato Economic Radar Updates, produced in partnership with the Waikato
Regional Council. The radar complements our wider Waikato Business Sentiment Survey, which will now be
undertaken on a six-monthly basis, with the results published alongside the Radar results for the respective
Key observations from this quarter include:
- The Waikato had excellent momentum leading into the lockdown, with strong growth and low
unemployment. But as expected, activity has eased with the implementation of the latest lockdown.
- Activity expectations in the Waikato remain relatively better than across the economy as a whole; and Waikato
firms are still expecting positive growth, though more tempered, despite negative sentiment towards the
- Unemployment is low, competition is rising for skilled staff, workers are being picky and know they have
choices, and wages are moving up.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests accessing skilled labour is a key constraint to expected business growth, matching
evidence which shows a decline in absolute terms in employed workers despite strong demand for skilled
- While the immediate focus is on vaccination, we are now into the hard slog of dealing with what is likely to be
an enduring impact of Covid. But the recent RBNZ quote is pertinent: “Prevalence of the disease may result in
permanent changes in the way we work and interact, which could lower the productive capacity of the economy
on an enduring basis.” It may seem obvious, but we cannot stand still. The productive capacity of the economy
is what wellbeing is built upon.
- We are now entering an environment of heightened risk. In particular, supply bottlenecks and inflationary
pressures are expected to intensify in the near-term with interest rates heading up. This environment will be
challenging for many, but such times also often represent great opportunities for change and for businesses to
address those typically ‘hard-to-address in normal times’ issues.
- The ongoing lockdown and the government’s change in stance re living with Covid vs. Elimination is forcing
business to embrace a very new and different normal. The changing environment necessitates the need for
Now is the time for bold ideas, fresh thinking and true collaboration to offset the growing impacts of Covid on our businesses and communities.