ASB Economic Outlook says 2024 is going to be 'a slow grind' but there are 'glimmers of light'

ASB says the economy is treading water but the OCR may be cut in November.
ASB says the economy is treading water but the OCR may be cut in November. Photo credit: Getty Images

It may feel tough right now, but one bank says there are small glimmers of light at the end of the economic tunnel.

In its quarterly economic update ASB offered a little hope saying inflation has shown further signs of coming down and is on track to fall below 3 percent by the end of this year.  

"We expect the Reserve Bank will be comfortable to start cutting the official cash rate in November." said ASB Chief Economist Nick Tuffley. The Reserve Bank's mandate is to keep inflation between 1 and 3 percent.

But it has been "a slow grind."

ASB notes that record migration has masked the underlying pressure on households, with GDP per capita, the size of the economic pie per person,  shrinking 4 percent by the end of last year. 

That matched the decline recorded during the Global Financial Crisis between 2007 and 2009.

It's also reflected in the latest Seek NZ Employment Report, which shows the number of jobs advertised in February is 15 percent lower than in 2019. The number of applications for jobs is three times higher than five years ago.

"The recent confirmation that we are in recession will have an impact on the hiring outlook for many employers," said Seek NZ Country Manager Rob Clark.

"For candidates who are already competing heavily for roles available, this may lead to an even tougher market in the months to come."

Job ads fell in most industries in February with the biggest drops in Construction, Engineering, Human Resources, Government and Defence and Advertising, Arts and Media.

One seemingly recession-proof industry is Healthcare and Medical where the number of roles advertised jumped 6 percent in February.

The Seek NZ report also shows that the major slowdown in jod advertisements is occuring in the major metro areas like Wellington (down 29 percent),  Auckland (down 26 percent and Canterbury (down 10 percent).