Hawke's Bay's economy is showing signs of life, as newly released figures reveal more jobs are being advertised and more people paid to stay in accommodation here late last year.
Latest Trade Me Jobs data showed job listings in the region were up 3.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 compared to the previous quarter, and up 16.2 per cent year-on-year.
Hawke's Bay commercial guest nights for accommodation providers increased by 2.2 per cent in November 2012 compared with the year before, according to Statistics NZ's Accommodation Survey.
Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce president Katja Williams said another positive sign for the region's job market was the rise in building consent numbers.
"I know that the industries that are looking [good] in particular were engineering types, like light engineering, design," she said.
Pockets of the construction industry were doing well, which was set to continue.
In accommodation, international guest nights were down 3.1 per cent, domestic guest nights were up 4.8 per cent and the average length of stay rose from 1.89 nights to 2.03 nights.
General manager of Hawke's Bay Tourism, Annie Dundas, said big events made a difference in November.
"We had FAWC [Food and Wine Classic] and the Ironmaori Quarter-Ironman that month and a few events in Central Hawke's Bay.
"It has probably made a bit of an impact for November," she said.
The quarter to September was down 18.3 per cent on a year earlier.
"Overall, people are being positive. I mean the weather has been amazing. That really does help. Last year was pretty awful," Ms Dundas said.
Despite the glowing report, moteliers contacted by Hawke's Bay Today were not optimistic for what was left of the summer season.
The data also showed guest night numbers have steadily fallen in Hawke's Bay since 2008.
One Napier motelier, who did not wish to be named, said he was surprised with the low level of bookings in December throughout Hawke's Bay.
"This coming weekend is Wellington Anniversary and then there is Auckland Anniversary Weekend. There are very few forward bookings. It used to be that the Bay would be chocker. We would be shunting them off to Taupo."
Hastings Motel Association president and owner of the Comfort Inn Fairmont, Paul Cropper, said his motel was looking "quite good" for this weekend but the long-term trend was worrying.
In Havelock North, Village Motel director Tony Evans said the weather would be a crucial factor in retaining strong bookings.
"It is looking to be a very positive summer for us if the weather keeps it up," he said. "2011 was a terrible year, but certainly the last three months have been very good."
Auckland recorded the largest accommodation increase (up 1.0 per cent), followed by Mackenzie (up 11.4 per cent), Wellington (up 1.9 per cent), Kapiti-Horowhenua (up 14.4 per cent).
Many regions' numbers fell. Dunedin suffered a guest-nights decrease of 22.9 per cent from November 2011, the Bay of Plenty was down 14.5 per cent, Rotorua down 6.5 per cent and West Coast down 6.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, the head of Trade Me Jobs, Pete Ashby, said that nationally, job listings had fallen slightly, but Hawke's Bay's showing had bucked that.
Christchurch continued to dominate the employment market, responsible for 46 per cent of the increase in nationwide listings, with a booming building and construction sector leading the charge.
Construction and architectural vacancies grew faster than any other sector nationally, and other sectors with strong growth included healthcare, transport and logistics, and hospitality and tourism.
The figures came as the Government announced the number of people on benefits was at the lowest level since 2008.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said beneficiary numbers fell by nearly 12,000 in the last year.
"But with 339,095 people on benefits in New Zealand, there is much more work to do."
New Zealand's unemployment rate is currently at 7.3 per cent, the highest level since June 1999.
BAY JOBS UP
( listings for the final quarter of 2012) Up 3.3 per cent compared to third quarter
Up 16.2 per cent compared to fourth quarter of 2011
National job listings for final quarter of 2012 - down 8.3 per cent compared to previous quarter
Up 11.4 per cent year-on-year
Source: Trade Me