The quarter 2 economic trends survey of 2019 has been published by Cork Chamber. The survey gathered metrics across a range of topics to assess business confidence, perspectives on the operating landscape, national economy, budget 2020 and the threats to business growth.
In announcing the results, Cork Chamber President Paula Cogan welcomed the new partnership with Ulster Bank, “We are delighted to have Ulster Bank as the new sponsor to the Cork Chamber Economic Trends. With over 180 years of heritage, Ulster Bank invests in its technology, brand and people and remains at the forefront of Irish banking industry. Ulster Bank has an inspiring legacy and we are very enthused to work even closer together in the years ahead.”
Pat Horgan, Ulster Bank’s Head of Commercial Banking (Regions) added, “Ulster Bank is very pleased to be supporting the Cork Chamber Economic Trends Survey, which is a staple of the Cork business scene and a reliable indicator for Cork business confidence and sentiment. We want to provide real help to businesses and are out talking to companies every single day, offering tailored financial solutions in order to help them grow and ultimately fulfil their ambitions. The Bank is proud to support the Cork business community and other communities right across the country.”
Commenting on the Q2 Economic Trends results, Cork Chamber President Paula Cogan highlighted, “It is very encouraging to see an increase in the percentage of businesses experiencing growth in turnover and net profits in Q2, at 63% and 73% respectively. We also report very positive growth in employee numbers for 50% of responding businesses, though 43% reported difficulties in recruiting for open vacancies, especially across engineering disciplines. This has been a recurring trend in recent years, highlighting the persistent skills shortage in this area”
Commenting further Ms Cogan added “There is a decrease in business confidence to 88%, compared with 96% in Q1. While we see hugely exciting growth happening across the City and Metropolitan area, with new developments taking shape and in planning, there are also palpable concerns amongst the business community. Ongoing Brexit uncertainties and the frustrations around housing and accommodation supply both feature as the top-ranking threats to business growth. The business community needs certainty for planning, decision making and investment. We need an accelerated pace of activity and a policy framework to support certainty.”
Commenting on Budget 2020, “With the recent publication of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, Budget 2020 must have a strong focus on sustainability, climate action and decarbonisation. In the Q2 survey, 52% of responding businesses added their support for a prioritisation of funding for public and sustainable transport, 23% gave support for tax incentives for electric cars, with 12% indicating support for the carbon tax with other responses indicating the necessity for a combination of measures as the most appropriate approach to meeting national carbon reduction targets.”
In concluding, Ms Cogan stated, “When asked about where the emphasis of Budget 2020 should lie, 40% of responding businesses indicated increased spending for public services/ public investments, followed by measures to improve business confidence at 31% and with majority of the remaining sentiment indicating the continued need for investment in housing.