For the first time in more than a decade Dunedin's job growth outpaced the national numbers.
The city's economy - measured by gross domestic product - also grew faster than New Zealand's for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said he was encouraged by the growth detailed in economics consulting firm Infometrics' new economic profile of the city, calling the news "a vote of confidence in the work the city is doing".
But the growth did not come without consequences, he said, and the benefits of the growing economy were not being "universally shared" by everyone.
"I don't think the city has been this positive about itself and its prospects for decades - and that's a great position for us to be at," Hawkins said.
"There are obviously trade-offs there and we're seeing that with housing affordability in particular but we're still more affordable than the national average. In the short term I think we need to be mindful of the challenges that particularly our exporters and tourism sector are facing in the face of the Covid-19 threat."
There were also challenges for the city's "environmental and social wellbeing", he said.
Dunedin City Council economic development programme manager Fraser Liggett and business relationship manager Des Adamson's report to the council's economic development committee, released yesterday, notes the city's 2013-23 economic development strategy set out two economic goals: 10,000 extra jobs over 10 years; and an average $10,000 extra income for each person.
The economic profile shows both targets to be on track.
Average wages were up 3.4 percent, to $56,801 a year, rising nearly $9000 from $48,010 in 2013.
Job numbers in Dunedin grew by 1482 in the last year to reach 65,159 - up 6143 since 2013.
The report identifies: education, construction, health, transport and logistics, and public administration as key sectors contributing to job growth in 2019.
"It would be fair to say that when the council set a goal of 10,000 new jobs over 10 years that most people wrote that off as being a fantasy and yet here we are on track for doing that," Hawkins said.
"We can't take the credit for that. But I think what it does tell us is that Dunedin is increasingly an attractive proposition for people to live and work in."
The rate of job growth in Dunedin is 2.3 percent a year, in the year to March 2019, as measured by Infometrics, outpacing the national average (1.9 percent) for the first time since 2006.
The city's economy grew 3.2 percent, as New Zealand's gross domestic product grew 3 percent, the first time since 2003 that Dunedin has topped the national level of growth.
The construction industry added most to the city's economic growth, growing by 10.6 percent, contributing 0.81 percentage points to the 3.2 percent growth.
Following construction was transport, postal and warehousing (0.44 percentage points) and education and training (0.43 percentage points).
Dunedin's unemployment rate improved from 6.5 percent in March 2018 to 5.1 percent by March 2019.
Beneficiary numbers in Dunedin dropped by 0.7 percent, compared to a 2.8 percent rise nationally.
Housing affordability dropped, but houses in Dunedin remained more affordable than the national average at 5.0 times a household income, compared to 6.1 times nationally, the report to the economic development committee said.
Dunedin 2019 economy summary
- Job growth in Dunedin (2.3 percent pa) exceeded New Zealand growth (1.9 percent pa) for first time since 2006.
- Dunedin's economy, measured by GDP, expanded faster (3.2 percent) than New Zealand economy (3 percent) for the first time since 2003.
- Key sectors driving growth: education, construction, health, transport and logistics, and public administration.
- Dunedin's unemployment rate down from 6.5 percent in March 2018 to 5.1 percent in March 2019.
- Housing less affordable, but more affordable than the national average at five times a household income, compared to 6.1 times nationally.
This story first appeared in the Otago Daily Times.