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Amid a global pandemic, cost of living crisis, and more recently the invasion of Ukraine, Hamilton’s economy has continued to outstrip other metro cities.

Hamilton City Council has released its 2021 Annual Economic Report, providing an in-depth look into Hamilton’s people, economy and development for the 2021 calendar year, and the economic outlook for 2022.

In the first report of its kind for Hamilton, information is collated from Council’s own rich data, as well as organisations like Statistics New Zealand and Infometrics, to provide a central source of economic facts and figures for the city and crucially, the reasons behind them.

Growth Funding and Analytics Manager Greg Carstens said Hamilton’s strong foundation had served it well during a tumultuous year.

“In the second year of the pandemic, we remained strong. With a diverse economy anchored by a wide-range of productive sectors including healthcare, manufacturing and technology – we managed to withstand the economic effects better than, and are tracking ahead of, other major cities.”

The report acknowledges the global and national economic situation has impacted the city, but less so than Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

Hamiltonians are seeing the benefits of a strong economy said Carstens.

“Hamilton’s GDP has increased 4.3% since 2019 despite the pandemic. This compares to increases of 0.4% in Auckland, 3.3% in Wellington, 3.1% in Christchurch and 3.6% across the country.

“More than 100,000 people were working in Hamilton – the first time we’ve reached that number – and unemployment was down to 4.8%.”

Hamilton’s population is growing at a faster rate than nationally and in other major cities. Between 2017 and 2021, its population increased 8% compared to 6% in Auckland, 3% in Christchurch, 4% in Wellington and 6% across New Zealand.

In 2021 growth continued despite closed borders with an increase of 0.9% compared to -0.1% in Auckland and 0.1% across New Zealand.

Image with statistics on Housing and Development in Hamilton

Carstens said the city continues to perform highly in housing growth.

Despite the economic disruption and challenges affecting residential development, a record 1497 new homes were completed, up 6% on 2020. A further 1170 were under construction – a 12% increase for the same period.

However, commercial consenting was hit harder, with nearly 79,000m2 of new floor area consented across both commercial and industrial developments in 2021, well below the average of 105,000m2 between 2012 and 2019.

“We’ve got another tough year ahead of us, as uncertainty and inflation in the national and global economies continues. But the numbers show us we’re in a good position to face those challenges head on.”

Read the full report and the latest information on our economic dashboards here.

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