Business confidence remains stable in the local government area, a survey has found.
Almost half of respondents to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s 2018 business confidence survey felt good or very good about the current business conditions.
Survey results showed the professional, scientific and technical and the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors felt the greatest increase in confidence.
The survey summary report said business conditions data showed some weakening when compared with the 2017 conditions.
But the results indicated businesses remained confident and optimistic about their future profitability and expected growth to continue in the coming year.
Men at Work was among the businesses which responded to the council’s survey.
Men at Work manager director Ross Cargill agreed conditions were favourable but said business owners were being cautious.
“They are not about to do something expansive on the current economic conditions,” he said.
Mr Cargill said a lot of people had their eye on the election and the housing market had dropped a bit.
“2018 hasn’t been a record breaking year for anyone by any stretch of the imagination,” he said.
More than 430 business responded to the council’s survey across industries ranging from arts and recreation to accommodation and food services, manufacturing and retail trade.
The summary report said 20 per cent of respondents reported more staff in 2017-18 than the previous year, while 77 per cent of respondents expected no change in staffing levels ahead.
Businesses in the education and training, health care and social assistance, and transport postal and warehousing project staff increases next year.
Recent figures released by the Department of Jobs and Small Business showed a reduction in unemployment locally, with the June 2018 quarter reported at 3.7 per cent, down from 6 per cent in 2016.
Council director Jeffery Sharp said the local economy continued to experience strong growth and investment with jobs growth expected to continue, particularly in the construction, education and training, health care and social assistance sectors.
“Infrastructure development also remains strong, with development totalling around $426 million submitted for council approval in the last financial year – an increase of more than $100 million on the year before,” Mr Sharp said.
The business confidence survey results also indicated other factors local businesses believed were influencing growth in the region.
These included macro-economic factors and policy changes like interest rates and local issues such as roads, infrastructure and our region’s ability to attract more people, industry and businesses to the area.
“The growth we are experiencing locally poses some real challenges for council and our community as we must plan and adapt to cater for an increased population, while still working to retain the character and personality of the places we love so much,” Mr Sharp said.
“There is an enormous amount of activity underway in this regard.
“We’re working with local residents on a number of community plans that set a vision for our local communities, and we’re designing new transport infrastructure that will be needed in the future so that we can move around easily.
“From building a new airport terminal in Port Macquarie to installing critical water supply services that cater for more people in the Camden Haven, we’re listening to the community and preparing for the next 10 years and beyond.
“We also know that we can’t deliver all we need to alone, so we’re continuing our efforts to partner with other levels of government to secure their support for the large investment needed to ensure we are creating an environment in which our local economy and businesses can continue to thrive.”
The 2018 business confidence survey results are available online.
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