Business confidence is down and unemployment is up in contrast to many other regions including the Mid North Coast to the south.
Business confidence is down and unemployment is up in contrast to many other regions including the Mid North Coast to the south. Janine Watson

Business confidence down, unemployment up

BUSINESS confidence is below average in the Coffs Harbour-Grafton region a recent survey shows.

But to our south, confidence in the Mid North Coast has been deemed above average.

Comparisons are no better when looking at unemployment rates; with Coffs-Grafton youth unemployment at 8.6 per cent and youth unemployment 22.9 per cent. For the Mid North Coast unemployment was listed as 4.6 per cent and youth unemployment 11.9 per cent.

The results are outlined in the NSW Business Chamber's latest Business Conditions Survey which gauges current and expected business performance across a range of indicators including profits, sales, capital spending and employment levels.

Businesses were also asked to rate the performance of the NSW economy.

The survey is conducted quarterly, and is typically sent to around 20,000 members across all regions of NSW and various business sizes.

Across the state, the drought was noted as a major factor taking its toll on the state's businesses with 84 per cent of those businesses surveyed indicating they were impacted by the drought, 43 per cent of which said the current drought was far more severe than previous droughts.

Four in five affected businesses indicated cash flow had been affected due to drought conditions.

On average, affected businesses indicated they may have to reduce staffing levels by 1.5 employees.

The impact of the drought can also be seen with New England and North West, and Central West experiencing the sharpest deterioration in confidence this quarter.

Newcastle and the Lower Hunter continue to impress as the strongest performers across the state.

"The weaker results evident this quarter can, at least to some extent, be explained due to seasonal and temporary factors.

"Positive staffing results and respondent's positive outlook for the economy provides a basis to anticipate a better result next quarter," a NSW Business Chamber representative summed up.