Business owners see the next three months as being better than the last three.
Business owners see the next three months as being better than the last three. Iain Curry

Business owners give overall thumbs up for future of economy

WHILE Northern Rivers business owners were less optimistic, the NSW Business Chamber said there was optimism for the future of the economy in their latest quarterly Business Conditions Survey.

The survey, conducted throughout the recent Federal Election campaign, canvassed the views of more than 1000 businesses across the state.

Next three months will be better

"Overall, the state's businesses believe that the next three months will be better than the last three, which is a good sign, but it is also a reminder that challenges remain," said NSW Business Chamber CEO Stephen Cartwright.

"There was a lot of focus on the economy and the importance of the business community throughout the election campaign, and given the amount of negativity created, I'm not surprised with some of the results recorded in this survey.

"Constantly talking things down becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially in small business.

"Respondents from Sydney, the Northern Rivers and the Central Coast were less optimistic than the previous quarter when it came to their views on the current economic conditions and their own profits.

Social media a potential channel for increased profits

"One of the interesting insights from this survey is the large number of businesses (16%) who were looking to recruit those with marketing and social media skills, seeing that sector as a potential pathway to increase their profits.

"Just under half of all respondents (49%) reported hiring staff in the past quarter - either to replace existing staff that had left or to increase their workforce, which is a positive sign and shows the faith they have in their own businesses over the coming months.

"Of concern, however, is that businesses continue to report difficulties in accessing skilled staff (25%), particularly in regional NSW. This is an ongoing issue and one most keenly felt during the past quarter in the Mid North Coast (38%) and the Central West (32%).

"In a positive sign for the NSW economy, 44% of respondents initiated some form of capital spending in the past quarter - either in the form of replacing ageing assets or to increase capacity to cope with an expected growth in demand for their products and services.

Mr Cartwright said that now the Federal election is over he was hopeful business in NSW will continue to lead the rest of the nation in growth and job creation.