New Zealand manufacturing continues to grow

Manufacturers in New Zealand are experiencing healthy growth this year, according to the latest BNZ – Business NZ Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI). Published on January 22, the report found that manufacturing increased to a seasonally adjusted 57.7 points in December.

This is the highest reading for December in a decade and is up 2.1 points up on November's numbers. While the annual average for 2014 is on par with the index in 2013, this increase over the past quarter highlights the industry's strong end to the year.

"Over 2014, the PMI averaged 56.0, which was exactly the same as the average value for 2013. At the very least, the sector has remained in a position of healthy growth, with comments from respondents typically focused on ongoing and steady demand, both within New Zealand and offshore," Business NZ Executive Director for Manufacturing Catherine Beard explained.

The primary growth sectors driving the industry were new orders and production, rated at an index of 62.0 and 61.7 points, respectively. Deliveries also climbed in December, reaching 58.7.

BNZ Senior Economist Doug Steel said: "The PMI results for manufacturing are consistent with broader indicators showing that the economy is in good heart. There is a lot to like with activity expanding at a solid clip with no inflation."

With manufacturing at a 10-year high in New Zealand, jobs in the sector are also likely to grow. The 2015 Occupation Outlook, published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, identified manufacturing as a sector that will present positive opportunities for job seekers over the next few years. In particular, strong gains are expected in engineering, ICT systems and software development.

For those job hunters looking for work, or business owners seeking out increased demand and activity, the Canterbury-Westland, Northern and Otago-Southland regions are forecast to be the areas offering the most growth in each category.

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