The third economic trends survey of 2019 reports on member experiences during July, August and September, gathering information to assess business confidence, and the operating landscape, national economy, skills, and threats to business growth. The Q3 survey included a specific focus on business competitiveness in relation to public transport priorities, and business insurance.
Cork Chamber President Paula Cogan, “Budget 2020 was a conservative budget in the face of Brexit uncertainty. The business community has been weathering this uncertainty since 2016, and as we see the possibility for an orderly Brexit in flux, we must tread carefully to navigate the economic challenges and to realise subsequent opportunities. We urge any businesses that have not done so to date, to engage with Government supports now, to ensure as smooth a future pathway as possible in response to the Brexit negotiations outcome.”
Ms. Cogan continued, “Our recent Q3 Economic Trends results reveal a decrease in overall confidence in the Irish economy, with only 60% confident, a dip from 77% in Q2. This is not surprising but is offset by respondents’ confidence in their own individual businesses, with 88% confident.”
Commenting on employee numbers, Ms. Cogan added, “The results indicate that employee numbers stayed relatively static from Q2 to Q3, with 49% reporting an increase in staff numbers over Q3. In Q2, 50% reported an increase. Unsurprisingly however, and in view of the broader Brexit uncertainty there is a dip in those expecting to increase employee numbers over the next 12 months to 45%, compared to 56% in Q2.”
“Our Q3 survey asked businesses their perspective on the prioritisation of cycle infrastructure as part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy. Here we report 65% of respondents in support of prioritised delivery. Added to this, 50% of all respondents indicate that the pace of overall infrastructure delivery is a threat to their business. Cork, as Ireland's fastest growing City region needs public and sustainable transport infrastructure if we are to achieve the potential of the region, supported by the long-term commitment and funding from Central Government. Cork Chamber will continue to call for the National Transport Authority to have an office in Cork. We need a focused approach and continuity in the project management and integration of projects to achieve the ambitions of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy,” added Ms. Cogan.
“Interestingly and with the growing number of e-scooters and e-bikes as a transport mode for commuting, 79% of respondents are in favour of legislating for their use”, Ms. Cogan added.
Commenting on business insurance, President of Cork Chamber, Paula Cogan stated, “the issue of business insurance is very much to the fore, with many businesses especially across the services and leisure sectors being impacted due to rising premiums. Our Q3 survey reported 57% of respondents indicating a change in insurance costs as a percentage of overheads.”
Concluding, Ms Cogan stated, “Brexit remains consistent as the number one threat to business growth, followed by skills availability and the availability of housing and rental accommodation for employees, alongside cashflow management.”