Solid growth for services sector
The services sector was growing solidly in the run-up to Christmas, but the pace slowed slightly in November, according to an industry survey.
The BNZ-Business NZ Performance of Services Index for November was 56.3 points, down 1.4 points from October.
But November was just as good as September showing a "solid" three months of expansion. An index above 50 suggests the sector is growing and below 50 that it is contracting.
The index has averaged 55.7 this year.
"The service sector continues to tick along quite nicely," BNZ said.
New orders or business remained at the top of the sub-indexes at 60.8 points, with seven of the last eight results above 60 points. That fits the BNZ view that economic growth was strong in the second half of this year and was likely to remain so into 2014.
Activity and sales showed a slight dip in November after a pickup the month before.
The employment sub-index jumped to 54.4, the best level since early 2012. That is seen as a pointer to decent future growth in service sector jobs.
Stock and inventories, and supplier deliveries were close to neutral, at just above 50.
The central region showed a sharp lift in the last month, up more than six points to 58.7, not far behind the Northern region on 60.9.
But surprisingly Canterbury/Westland went backwards in the month, down to 46.8, despite the ongoing Christchurch rebuild.
However, Otago/Southland hit 72.4 points mainly due to strong new orders and sales.