Plenty of work in NZ manufacturing

New Zealand manufacturing expanded at its highest rate for
2014 in October and employment in the sector grew at the highest rate since 2002,
according to a key index.

The BNZ – BusinessNZ Performance of Manufacturing Index
(PMI) for October was 59.3, a 0.8 point increase from September.

Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while readings below
50 represent contraction in the sector.

BusinessNZ’s executive director for manufacturing Catherine
Beard said that the PMI has continued to build momentum over the last five
months.

“While the month of May represented the lowest value
recorded for the survey so far in 2014, a run of steady and ongoing increases
in activity since then has led to the survey now slightly below the 60 point
mark for expansion,” she said.

The employment reading for October
was 57.5. This was the highest figure the survey, which began in 2002, has ever
recorded. Beard highlighted this good result and called it “another
boost in the arm for the sector”.

“In addition, the proportion of positive comments from
manufacturers (68.7%) was well up on results from previous months. This all
bodes well for a healthy end to 2014.” she said.

BNZ Senior Economist, Doug Steel, says “New Zealand’s
labour market continues to strengthen with annual employment growth of 3.2% and
the unemployment rate falling in the year to September. Today’s PMI results
suggest more improvement is likely in the final quarter of 2014.”

Apart from employment, the other four main seasonally
adjusted diffusion indices were again in expansion during October. Production
(62.5) led the way, with its highest result since July 2013. New orders (61.8)
rose 1.7 points to remain above the 60-point mark, deliveries (56.6) eased from
its level of activity in the previous month, while finished stocks (51.5) also
experienced a lower level of activity from September.