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North Canterbury businesses are feeling more positive about the future despite the disruptions from Covid-19 according to the latest North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey.
The survey, conducted by Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) every six months, was released in late October and shows that the local business community is more confident about the business outlook for New Zealand than it has been at any other time in the past three years. The net -10% business confidence level reported in the October survey, while still slightly pessimistic, is a marked increase on the net -59% reported in May and is the highest level of overall business confidence reported in the region since October 2017. The latest figure also compares favourably against the confidence level of businesses across New Zealand, which sits at net -39%.
The last North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey was conducted shortly after the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown when business confidence was bottoming out across the board. However, over a third of surveyed businesses are now reporting growth as a result of Covid-19, while at least 118 businesses have launched in North Canterbury since lockdown.
“North Canterbury has done better than was predicted since lockdown, with fewer closures, fewer redundancies and more new businesses starting than expected,” says ENC Business Support Manager Miles Dalton says. “Unemployment figures across the region are also currently sitting lower than expected, and our survey says that staffing levels should increase in many businesses over the next six months. While local business is still fragile and we wouldn’t want to see another lockdown, North Canterbury businesses are optimistic overall about their own situations.”
Miles says that 32% of surveyed businesses expect the local business situation to improve in the next six months.
“Things are looking good for the year ahead, but the risk of another Covid-19 outbreak means that we can’t sit too comfortably,” he says. “We have seen business owners really working hard to make sure the fundamentals of their businesses are solid, and getting help to make sure they are building their markets. It’s all stuff that businesses should do anyway, but the current situation has really made people take stock of what their risks are and address them”.