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Survey shows economic confidence

Economic confidence seems to be on the rise, with half of businesses expecting an increase in sales revenue this year, reports the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.

Sasha Angus, chief executive officer of the corporation, presented an economic update during a city council meeting Monday, including the results of a 2013 business conditions survey.

The survey is the second since 2012. More than 6,000 surveys were distributed through the city’s business licences and online at the end of last year. The corporation has seen about a five-per cent response rate and while the results are still being crunched, reports that just over half of those surveyed believe economic conditions are bound to improve in 2014, up from 36 per cent last year.

More than 50 per cent of businesses expected a spike in sales revenue and 15 per cent said they will increase their capital investment by an average 119 per cent.

“If they were to invest a dollar of capital last year in their business, they’d be looking at investing $2.19 in capital this year,” Angus said, adding it tends to be a good indicator for future economic growth. “They wouldn’t be making an investment if they didn’t think they would get a return on it.”

While the results are encouraging it also shows Nanaimo businesses are facing challenges around finding skilled labour, he said.

“A number of people who are business owners ... will likely sell or retire from actively running their business, so the ability to develop the local talent we have here and retain them and then to attract new people to the community be be incredible important,” he said.

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