The release of the NSW Business Chamber’s December 2017 Business Conditions Survey demonstrates that confidence in the economy of the Illawarra and the South Coast is growing among the business community.
The index measuring perception of the Illawarra and South Coast economy’s performance among local businesses has risen to 13.2 points, up 3.8 points from the previous quarter. This finds the Illawarra and South Coast ahead of both Sydney and Western NSW in terms of business confidence.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that this was a strong vote of confidence in the economy of the Illawarra and South Coast, in the face of significant cost pressures.
“Confidence in our economy is growing strongly, despite some local challenges such as the rising costs of doing business and accessing skilled workforce,” he said.
“The major cost pressures for business across the board should come as no surprise: rising energy costs and finding quality staff, with the highest operating costs being reported by businesses in accommodation, food services and manufacturing,”
“Clearly we have work to do in 2018 in order to grow business confidence back to its December 2016 levels, but we’re up to the challenge and I look forward to working with all businesses to see that happen.”
- While a strong result in terms of growth, the region’s economic performance index of 13.2 falls slightly behind the state-wide average of 21.8, and is 13.5 points behind the region’s result from the same time last year.
- Businesses in the region have reported a slight decline in their operating costs from 44.9 in September down to 39.1 in December 2017, against a static, state-wide result of 41.8.
- Despite this, they report a slip in their profitability index from -3.4 in September to -10.3 in December, against a state-wide result of -1.4.
- The Illawarra and South Coast is among the regions experiencing the most difficulty accessing skilled staff, with 29.3% of respondents reporting this a concern – an increase of 4.6% from the September survey.
- The region is also one of the most static job markets, being the second least likely to have hired staff, and the third least likely to have seen staff leave in the last quarter.
- Businesses in the region were also the second least likely (to New England) to have initiated capital expenditure in the last quarter.