9 June 2022

Southland Chamber: Businesses feeling a lot more positive

Business confidence in Southland seems to have spiked, but staffing remains a significant problem.

The Southland Business Chamber has released findings from its fourth business confidence survey, which was for the quarter ending May 2022.

It surveyed all of its 570 owners or managers of businesses that are part of the chamber.

The feedback shows business confidence among the respondents has improved significantly.

Just over 60% of respondents expect that the general business situation in New Zealand will improve in the next six months. The same amount also expected improvement from their own businesses in the next six months.

No respondents in the previous survey in February felt that was the case.

“For the first time, Covid-19 border restrictions and Covid-19 level changes do not feature [in the survey] as the most common limiting factor for businesses to expand their activities,” the Chamber says in its findings.

“It’s great to see this quarter business owners are feeling a lot more positive.”

However, business folk has indicated through the survey that they are continuing to struggle to find staff.

Every respondent stated they were finding it harder to find skilled/specialist staff, while just over half were also finding it harder to find unskilled staff compared to three months ago.

The chamber regarded the staffing situation as “the No 1 issue” for Southland businesses.

Chamber CEO Sheree Carey said it was stunting the economic growth of the region as businesses can’t tender for extra contracts or expand.

Average costs continue to be the major concern for businesses with 87.5% of respondents saying it has gone up over the past three months and the same percentage of respondents believing it will continue to go up over the quarter.

“There are various factors affecting profit over the last six months including Covid-19 level changes, supply chain, interest rates and staff costs,” the report says.

“Inflation continues to be the highest area of concern for the next six months with 62.5% of respondents. This confirms the complex nature of the current business environment.”

Source: Stuff.co.nz – June 8 2022

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