On Friday in conjunction with The Hills Shire Council and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, we released the Hills Business Performance Sentiment Index which gives an ongoing measure of the local economic conditions and business confidence.
This study, now in its third year is very important in an entrepreneurial hotspot like the Hills, which is home to more than 20,000 businesses and almost 100,000 employees.
The area is also strong with start-ups, which are expanding the local economy. Every week in the Hills, 15 new businesses commence operations and with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups locally will likely accelerate.
This year’s results highlight the challenging conditions local businesses are currently experiencing. The overall rating this year is lower than last year although the forward forecast remains strong. The current economic conditions are subdued and business expenses are up, yet such is the way of Australian entrepreneurs, their sentiment and outlook is decidedly positive.
Of the 21 measures, the two that scored the lowest, highlighting the biggest challenges, were the increasing business costs and the local infrastructure challenges. The highest two scores indicated that revenue forecasts for the six months ahead will rise and that local businesses forecast they will take on more staff this year. Therefore, the flat domestic economy, issues from under-construction local infrastructure and higher costs to revenue metrics are all viewed as temporary, though challenging circumstances.
Our thanks go to The Hills Shire Council and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber who recognise the importance of this Business Performance Sentiment Index in a growing local economy, amidst volatile times and facing massive change. Their foresight to commission such a project, commitment to its ongoing deployment and generosity in making it freely available to the business community is to be heartily commended.