Press Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Confidence in the Wellington region’s economy has taken a slight downturn but remains significantly more positive than it was throughout 2013, according to the latest Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Business Confidence Survey.
The survey has seen three consecutive sharp upturns since August 2013.
A net 48% of business respondents said they expected the Wellington economy to improve over the next 12 months, compared to a net 53.7% three months ago in the March survey. Some 54.3% expect the economy to improve and just 6.36% expect it to decline. The latest figure compares to a net 18.4% in May last year, 27.6% in August, and 40% in December.
The survey was conducted in the last two weeks of June.
Wellington region business confidence in the national economy remains very high, though it is back a little from that experienced in March at a net 72.2% compared to 76.2%.
There was a slight decline when respondents were asked about their own business situation, with a net 57.2% expecting an improvement, down 0.9% from March.
A net 27.9% of businesses expect to invest in plant or equipment for their business over the next 12 months, up fractionally from March (27.6%). Some 37.3% expect to invest more, while just 9.3% expect to invest less (8% in March).
Some 41.7% of businesses expect to hire more staff over the next 12 months, compared to 43% in March. Just 11.1% expect staff numbers to decrease, compared with 8.3% in March.
When asked what limiting factors their businesses were currently facing, employee resource and skill shortages featured the most, followed by increased competition, decreasing customers and demand, and the lack of cash flow and government funding for smaller organisations.
Businesses said increased competition in the labour market meant employers were still finding it hard to employ skilled/specialist people, with software, electronic and IT technical staff most in demand.
In general, respondents said they were more likely to be increasing their full-time employee and total employee numbers within the next 12 months.
Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley said the survey showed that the Wellington economy remained headed in the right direction, despite expectations being slightly down on the previous survey.
“With the General Election around the corner, a slight downturn was expected as we tend to see this in election years.
“But basically confidence is holding up well. It is slightly down but remains very high compared with a year ago, and that’s positive in itself.
“Our economy is certainly in line with what is happening nationally, where recent surveys show there is a little bit of steam coming out of the pace of growth.
“Businesses remain mostly confident about the coming 12 months, with plans for spending on staff, plant and equipment holding up.”
The survey also asked businesses how they viewed the Wellington City Council’s convention centre and Hilton Hotel proposal. A third of respondents said they would like to see a further business case before they decided whether they would support it. The proposal has been released for public consultation since the survey has been completed and includes further financial information.
Raewyn Bleakley said it is “an exciting and promising proposal which has real potential to deliver huge opportunities to the city and the region, but we must make sure the business case stacks up”.
“Done properly it has the potential to be a real drawcard for the city and region.”