The latest 6-monthly survey of Taranaki’s business confidence has found that the region’s businesses are anticipating an economic slowdown, and are concerned about the rising costs of doing business.

The latest 6-monthly survey of Taranaki’s business confidence has found that the region’s businesses are anticipating an economic slowdown, and are concerned about the rising costs of doing business.
 
The results of Venture Taranaki’s May 2018 Taranaki Business Survey show that the outlook for New Zealand’s economic conditions over the next 12-months has taken a hit, with those expecting economic deterioration rising to their highest level in almost a decade. A net 31% of respondents expect the economic outlook to deteriorate, while 19% expect improvement.
 
Despite this perception of the economy, conditions in businesses’ own industries over the coming year were seen as more positive, with 29% expecting improvement, and 23% a decline in performance, while the six-monthly sales outlook saw 36% expecting improvement, and 18% a deterioration, though this figure has doubled since December last year.
 
“The region faces significant economic challenges in the medium to longer term, as the nation migrates to a low-carbon economy,” says Venture Taranaki Chief executive Stuart Trundle.
 
“It is important that provincial regions are supported through a just transition into this new era of government policy. The resources required will be significant if this negative outlook is to be improved through a combination of innovation, investment, and inspirational leadership.”
 
“Some heart can be taken that our businesses remain more optimistic about the performance of their own industry over the year ahead, and their sales over the next six months fare even better,” Stuart said.
 
Fuel, energy and staff costs were seen as the three biggest concerns facing local businesses, with electricity and fuel jumping sharply since the last survey in December.
 
“Reflecting Taranaki’s geographic position, the number one concern for our businesses is the price of fuel, which has flow on effects to the cost of exporting and service provision.”
 
In terms of staffing levels over the next six months, 69% expect numbers to remain static, while 15% anticipate an increase and the same amount a decrease. 34% of Taranaki businesses report that they have a skill shortage or difficulty recruiting the staff they need – the highest level since May 2008.
 
“There are many challenges impacting on our region’s business outlook, such as a dynamic legislative environment, the future of oil and gas exploration, and our ability to attract and retain good staff,” Stuart said.
 
“All of these factors need to be considered in business planning, and the Business Survey is one of the tools Venture Taranaki provides to help local businesses, regional leaders and government in doing that,” Stuart said.
 
The survey is sent to a cross-section of 1,500 Taranaki businesses, across a range of sectors, sizes and locations throughout the region. It has been conducted every six months since 1999.