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New tool provides Canterbury decision-makers with latest data

Canterbury’s economic activity for July 2020 returned to a similar level as the same month last year, according to the first edition of the Canterbury Economic Activity Index.

The monthly Index has been created by ChristchurchNZ to provide timely insights on the performance of the economy.

It compares Canterbury’s economic indicators to national performance, enabling decision-makers to quickly respond to gaps and opportunities, ultimately helping to inform the socio-economic recovery plan for the city.

The July version of the index found:

  • The Canterbury Economic Activity Indicator measures regional economic activity as being 0.7 per cent higher than in July 2019. This stands equal to New Zealand as a whole.
  • Job seeker support recipients in Canterbury have increased 36 per cent from 13,256, in first week of January 2020 to 17,994 in the week ending 14 August 2020.
  • Building consents have stabilised, following artificially high levels in May, as processing capacity improved, seeing decreases of 19 per cent for Canterbury when comparing June and May 2020.
  • July 2020 compared to the same month last year saw decreases in total building consents of 14.3 percent for Canterbury.
  • Total spending in Canterbury reached $693m in July 2020, 9 per cent up on the same month last year. However, the spending profile across sectors has altered significantly with some seeing large drops, and others increases in spending compared with the same time last year.

Nick Bryan Acting GM Strategy, Insights and Policy said: “Providing relevant, timely indicators is critical to monitoring the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and informing the city’s response toward recovery for the local economy and community.

To remain agile and respond to scenarios quickly requires regular, reliable data – the Canterbury Economic Activity Index has been created to provide guidance to city leadership, decision-makers and business leaders across the region"

Nick Bryan Acting GM Strategy, Insights and Policy

The Index includes information on retail spend from the latest MarketView data. There has been overall growth in card spending of 9 percent during July 2020 when compared with July 2019.

However, the data also shows tourism related industries - accommodation and cafes, restaurants, bars and takeaways - have seen the greatest declines of 27 and 11 percent respectively for the year ending July 2020.

‘’The full suite of data will have approximately a month time-lag, so it’s important to remember the index is a snapshot in time in a dynamic, evolving environment,’’ Bryan said.

‘’The August change in Covid Alert Levels is likely to have impact nationwide, particularly to those businesses most susceptible to the economic consequences of Covid-19 travel restrictions. We should see this in the next edition of the Index.