BUSINESSES in the New England North West are optimistic about the performance of the state’s economy and have recorded improvements across a number of key indicators.
That’s the opinion of the NSW Business Chamber, which has just released its September 2015 Business Conditions Survey.
“Our survey of local businesses showed improvement in business confidence in the region and a level of optimism about the upcoming Christmas trading period that we have not seen for several years,” New England North West NSW Business Chamber regional manager Joe Townsend said.
“Some 43 per cent of the businesses surveyed expect the state’s economic performance to strengthen in the next three months, echoing the uptick in business confidence reported in other surveys following the recent federal leadership changes.
“In positive news for the local economy, 43 per cent of local businesses reported an increase in total sales revenue, a significant increase from 25 per cent in June 2015.
“A further 23 per cent of businesses reported an increase in profits, up from16 per cent in the previous quarter.”
Mr Townsend said 10 per cent of local businesses had increased their staff numbers in the past three months, compared to 18 per cent in June 2015, but 18 per cent of businesses surveyed said they expected to hire additional staff in coming months.
“Consistent with previous quarters, the September Business Conditions Survey revealed ongoing concerns about over-regulation and the cost of doing business in the region,” he said.
The survey found almost 40 per cent of businesses experienced higher operating costs, up slightly from 38 per cent in the previous quarter; and more than 20 per cent reported they had difficulty accessing suitably qualified staff. This was consistent with the previous quarter, and lower than the NSW average of 22 per cent.
“Changes in customer demand were the greatest positive influence on business, with changes in prices charged by suppliers as the major negative and the weak Australian dollar an important factor,” Mr Townsend said.
“Employees with skills in sales, engineering and trades were most in need this quarter, with demand for qualified staff with good customer service, literacy and communication skills and technical proficiency continuing to increase.”
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