Much is made of the fact that the Hawkes Bay economy is powered primarily by its land based production sectors and the allied processing of the outputs of these sectors. These sectors include pastoral farming, fruit, horticulture, wine, forestry/logging, food processing, textile manufacturing and wood processing.

Latest available Statistics New Zealand information indicates that last year these sectors combined accounted for about one quarter of all businesses in the region, 40% of total regional GDP and approximately 30% of total employment in Hawke’s Bay. These figures do not take into account the many other industries in the region that have business links to the above sectors, such as specialized rural equipment and materials manufacturing, farm building construction, freight transport, rural goods retailing and wholesaling, rural financial services, equipment leasing and tertiary education/training. Bringing these into play would further lift the above proportions.

What this all says is that Hawke’s Bay’s ongoing economic performance is obviously very closely tied to economic conditions facing its rural production and related processing and servicing industries.

However, we should not forget about the regional economic contribution of the myriad of other industries operating in Hawkes Bay. In broad terms, these include manufacturing other than processing activity, energy and water services, construction, retailing and wholesaling, food/hospitality/tourism services, transport and communications, property/financial/business services, public sector administration, education and training, the health sector, community services, cultural/recreation services and personal/household services. Whilst some of these activities are funded by the public purse, nevertheless, they employ large workforces and therefore make an important contribution to the regional economy.

Statistics New Zealand information shows that the manufacturing sector other than processing accounts for 3% of all firms in the region, 6% of total regional GDP and 4% of total employment. The services sector accounts for over 70% of all enterprises in Hawke’s Bay, 54% of regional GDP and 66% of total employment. From an employment perspective, the leading manufacturing industries in the region comprise fabricated metal products, and machinery and equipment. The leading service industries are the provision of health care and social assistance, retailing, education and training, construction, tourism/hospitality services and public sector administration.

The largest employing individual activities in Hawke’s Bay are, in order, supermarkets, residential care services, hospitals, primary education, secondary education,  cafes and restaurants, packaging, pre-school education, visitor accommodation, road freight, labour supply services, house construction, Government administration and food takeaway outlets.

The most significant employment growth amongst the different manufacturing and service industries in Hawke’s Bay over the past decade has been recorded for, in no particular order: administration services, computer services, waste collection services, electrical supply services, building construction, food wholesaling, telecommunication services, construction services, residential care services, financial services, heavy and technical engineering, sport and recreation services, air transport, visitor accommodation and medical services.

It will be noted that the list comprises a fairly disparate mix of activities. But in broad terms it reflects significant observable economic changes in the region over the decade, such as the rapid growth of the computer age, major new housing growth in the region, the fast growth of telecommunications, aging population, growth of the tourism industry, growth in air travel, and the growing importance of sport and physical recreation activity and its links to healthy lifestyles. All of these trends have been underpinned over the period by the steadily increasing overall economic standard of living in Hawke’s Bay.

Regional growth forecasts recently prepared for Hawke’s Bay Inc, our regional development agency, indicate that the fastest growing industries in the area over the next few years are expected to be, in order, agricultural production, the manufacturing of chemicals/rubber/plastics, personal and community services, food processing, wholesale trade, metal product manufacturing, property services, transport and storage, and forestry/logging.

Note that the list includes some of the service industries in the region. To the extent that regional service industries also supply goods and services to the primary production sector, then they will also benefit from growth within that sector. Overall, the broad services sector of the regional economy is forecast to grow by 4% in real terms over the five-year period 2007-2011. This compares with primary industries 11%, processing 8% and manufacturing 7%.

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