A pick-up in activity in Canterbury is spreading beyond the construction sector, an economic index indicates.
The ASB Bank's monthly Cantometer measures about 17 different statistics in five indices, including construction, migration and employment.
The index was set to zero in June 2010 and rose from 0.2 to 0.5 in January, implying overall activity exceeds pre-earthquake levels.
The rebuilding of Christchurch has dominated the indicator in the past, but this time, consumer spending led the improvement.
ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley says activity is also starting to recover in other parts of Canterbury's economy.
The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce says increasing employment opportunities in construction and related businesses are attracting more wage and salary earners prepared to spend money locally.
It expects redevelopment work in central Christchurch will continue for up to 25 years and future insurance payouts will also boost the region's economy.
The Retailers Association agrees, saying more people have been spending their post-quake payouts, with a consequent rise in the sale of big-ticket items such as whiteware and furniture.