Southland maintains three star credit rating
Strong growth in building consents, new car sales and retail spending have has helped Southland maintain a three-star rating in the latest regional economic report from the ASB Bank.
The Main Report scores the performance of regional economies for the June quarter, compared to the same period last year.
In Southland, drivers for a better score - population and employment growth - remained in the doldrums. Population growth was down -0.1 per cent, while employment was worse, down 2 per cent.
Employment numbers dropped from 53,000 to 52,000.
However, ASB senior economist Chris Tennent-Brown said the region led building consent rankings this quarter, with non-residential building buoyed by a strong dairy season.
Construction growth was up by 56 per cent on last year, with $58 million in new builds this year.
"That has been one thing that has injected plenty of money into the regions - including Southland."
New car sales were also strong, with the industry recording 25 per cent growth, or 681 new vehicles sold.
Employment growth continued to be a challenge, particularly with Canterbury attracting record numbers of workers.
That region recorded an 11 per cent increase in employment on the same time last year, ahead of every other region.
Tennent-Brown said an increase in employment and population would be needed for Southland's economy to improve.
The Southland Times