Hunter businesses are optimistic about the year ahead based on the positive result recorded inthe latest Business Conditions Survey conducted by theNSW Business Chamber.
The Hunter Business Chamber Chief Executive Officer, Bob Hawes said the results of the survey demonstrate conditions are strong and business confidence is high on the back ofperceived strength in the state and regional economies.
“In the last three months of 2017, 80% of Hunter businesses surveyed experienced stable or a total increase in revenue,” Bob said.
“Almost 75% of respondents recorded stable or an increase in profit over the same period whichisencouraging news.
“Business confidence continues to improve and locally this is being driven by events such as the construction boom in parts of the region, the recovery in the mining sector following improved commodity process, the activity around large scale development projects such as the investment going into RAAF base Williamtown and continuing low interest rates.”
Bob said that compared to other parts of New South Wales, Hunter businesses are expecting stronger conditions across most economic indicators including growth in capital spending, sales revenue, profit and staff numbers.
“Almost 80% of the businesses surveyed in the Hunter expect profits to remain steady or growover the short term,” Bob said.
“Of businesses surveyed, 59% hired new staff between October and December with two thirds of these being for new positions rather than replacement positions. This is consistent with recent reports of employment trends and improvement across the region.
“Despite the tightening labor market, firms were reporting they do have access to suitably qualified staff which otherwise could be a serious handbrake on growth ambitions in the future.
The survey also indicated that cost pressures remain a concern for businesses, with inefficiency and unproductive work, record high-energy costs, and general operating costs the top three targets for business to reduce expenses.
“It seems the energy cost and supply issues still weigh heavily on business with the item leaping from the fifth to the second most prevalent matter noted over the last 12 months. We’re not seeing a response from government that satisfies business despite the initiatives,” Bob said.
Business Hunter is the new name for the organisation formerly known as the Hunter Business Chamber. We are the largest regional peak business group in Australia, representing members across all business and industry sectors. Business Hunter is a not-for-profit member organisation dedicated to connecting people in business with what they need to succeed.
We have been the voice of business in the Hunter since 1886. Our members are part of a network of more than 2,500 businesses across the region. That network includes members of 20 aligned local chambers across 10 local government areas, stretching from the Mid North Coast to Lake Macquarie and inland to Scone. From main-street retailers to ASX 100 corporates, our member businesses power Australia's strongest regional economy.
The name Business Hunter was adopted in February 2020 to better reflect the vibrant and diverse businesses the organisation represents. The new name also aligns with our affiliates Business NSW and Business Australia.
Business Hunter has been through a number of name changes; what has never changed is our commitment to helping our members do business better, to drive growth and prosperity in the Hunter region.