This will also likely impact the housing market
New Zealand’s migration numbers have continued to be in negative territory for the year to July, although the bigger number of people coming to our shores in the past month make up for the continued increase in departures.
Still, new StatsNZ data offered no relief for businesses concerned about the extremely tight labour market.
Stats NZ said that on an annual basis, migrant arrivals in New Zealand were 52,100, down 16% on the prior year; while migrant departures were 64,500, down 7%, NZ Herald reported.
In the year ended July 2022, the provisional net migration loss of 12,400 consisted of net losses of 8,300 New Zealand citizens and 4,100 non-New Zealand citizens.
By comparison, the year ended July 2021 saw a provisional net migration loss of 7,600, driven by a net loss of 19,700 non-New Zealand citizens and partly offset by a net gain of 12,100 New Zealand citizens, Stats NZ data showed.
The comparisons between the July 2022 and 2021 months and years use the latest provisional estimates for each period with 95% confidence intervals (±) beside them. It is important to note that migration estimates in more recent months have greater uncertainty and are therefore subject to larger revisions than estimates for earlier periods, NZ Herald reported.
Before COVID-19 broke out, New Zealand experienced several years of record net migration gains, with a peak of 65,000 in the year to July 2016.
A record wave of arrivals was then recorded after the pandemic closed borders in early 2020 as Kiwis returned home. In that wave, the net migration peaked at nearly 85,000 in the year to June 2020.
Numbers have steadily dropped since then.
While the lack of population growth has both inflationary and deflationary effects on the economy, it can be considered to be an inflationary factor right now as the acute shortage of workers is putting upward pressure on labour costs, NZ Herald reported.
The negative net migration rate will also likely impact the property market, economists said.
A recent Kiwibank report predicted that the country would no longer be suffering a housing shortage by mid-2023.
Housing demand had eased as population growth hit its lowest rate since the 1980s.
“Supply is catching up in part because COVID restrictions at the border have seen population growth slow to a trickle,” Kiwibank senior economist Jeremy Couchman told NZ Herald.