The results of the latest Taranaki Business Survey reflect similar surveys around the country, showing that the outlook for New Zealand’s economic conditions over the next 12-months has taken a dive, while the prognosis for the regional economy remains more optimistic.

The expectation of an improving nationwide economic situation halved from 42% in June to 21% in the November survey, while those expecting conditions to deteriorate jumped from 5% to 20%.
 
“At a national level, Taranaki’s businesses are reporting a similar overall outlook to eighteen months ago, a significant drop from our mid-year results and a likely reflection of the uncertainty generated by the change in government,” says Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle.
 
Confidence in industry conditions also took a hit, though overall remained more buoyant than the national outlook, with those expecting improvement dropping from 45% to 30%, and those expecting 2018 to be tougher for their industry climbing from 6% in June to 16%.
 
In contrast the sales outlook for the coming 6-months remained strong, with 45% expecting sales to improve over the first two quarters of 2018, down slightly from 51% at mid-year while those expecting sales to be worse
 
“We’re seeing greater confidence in the local outlook than in the national economy, a reflection of the positivity of recent events such as the Lonely Planet award and the impact of increased media exposure and regional profile,” Stuart said.
 
Businesses reported wage and staff costs, material costs and fuel costs were currently the biggest challenges to growth, while the uncertainty around the implications of the new government also tempered business outlook.
 
Securing skilled staff remained a challenge for some Taranaki businesses, with 22% expecting staff numbers to increase over the next six-months and 28% of businesses reported difficulties in recruiting the staff they needed.
 
“Overall we must remain mindful that there remain challenges impacting on our region’s business outlook, such as a dynamic legislative environment, continued fluctuations in commodity prices, and long-term stability.”
 
“The Business Survey is one of the tools Venture Taranaki provides to help local businesses, regional leaders and government in their planning and decision making,” Stuart said.
 
The survey is sent to over 1,500 Taranaki businesses, across a range of sectors, sizes and locations throughout the region. It has been conducted every six months since 1999. The survey period was November 2017.

Read the full November 2017 Taranaki Business Survey results here.