A BUSINESS confidence survey of 400 Coffs Harbour businesses has found that while more than half of businesses expected increases in sales and profitability in the next 12 months, most were not planning to hire more staff.
The Coffs Harbour Future Development Board survey found that 52 per cent were expecting increases in sales and profitability, while 12 per cent expected a decrease in sales and 18 per cent a decrease in profitability.
Yet, most businesses (67 per cent) expected no change in staff levels, while 22 per cent expected to increase and nine per cent to decrease staff levels.
The survey aimed to establish expectations of business conditions and to get a better understanding of the local issues affecting business profitability and growth according to deputy chair Greg Jenke.
"By understanding those issues, the board hopes to work in partnership with businesses, Coffs Harbour City Council and other government bodies to improve the region's economic prosperity," he said.
Of all the businesses surveyed, 36 per cent indicated conditions in their industry had declined in the last 12 months, with the majority (40 per cent) indicating conditions were the same.
But 34 per cent thought it would get better and 20 per cent that it would get worse over the next year.
Population growth, increased investments in the city, and promoting the city as an investment destination were the issues operators believed would have the biggest impact.
"The survey's results will allow us to focus on the priorities identified by the business sector and look at providing some of the training and support services they need," Coffs Harbour City Council economic development manager Megan Dixon said.