Community News

Northern Rivers business confidence surges in December quarter

Business confidence surged in the Northern Rivers in the final quarter of 2015 as the number of businesses reporting increases in sales revenue grew significantly, the NSW Business Chamber’s latest Business Conditions Survey shows. “More than 100 local businesses took part in our December 2015 Business Conditions Survey, which showed business perceptions of the State’s economic performance at its highest level since July 2009 amid significant improvements in profit and sales revenue,” said NSW Business Chamber Northern Rivers Regional Manager, John Murray. “Importantly, the survey suggests that the steady growth in business confidence is translating into employment growth. 19% of Northern Rivers businesses reported that they increased staff numbers in the final quarter of 2015, up from 7% in September 2015, while 19% of respondents said they expected to hire additional staff in coming months. “25% of local businesses increased capital spending in the December 2015, up slightly from 23% in the previous quarter, however 27% of businesses expected to increase capital spending in coming months. “Northern Rivers businesses are optimistic about the year ahead with 46% of respondents expecting the NSW economy to strengthen in coming months; confidence no doubt bolstered by the material improvements in business performance recorded in the final quarter of 2015. “The survey showed a sharp uptick in the sales revenue for local business in the December quarter, with 41% of respondents reporting an increase in sales revenue compared to 31% in the September quarter. “Many businesses also predicted a bumper start to 2016 with 44% of respondents expecting sales revenue to increase, which is consistent with the state-wide average of 45%. “Addressing business inefficiencies and improving productivity looks to be the key focus for Northern Rivers businesses as we head into the New Year, with 48% of respondents identifying this as a key priority, followed closely by reducing operating costs, energy costs, errors and wastage. “Overall the news for business in the Northern Rivers is positive but it cannot be assumed that the good times will last forever. Ensuring a competitive and efficient tax system, reducing red tape and reforming workplace relations are no less important now than they were in past quarters,” Mr Murray said.