Seventy-three percent of businesses in Terrace are uncertain about local economic conditions in the area, but local business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about their financial and employment outlook in the next 12 months.
That was among the key findings of the first-ever MNP Terrace Business Leaders Survey released on November 17, 2016 at an Economic Outlook Breakfast hosted in Terrace.
Both the survey and the economic outlook event were conducted jointly by the Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce and the Terrace office of the accounting and business consulting firm MNP LLP. Modelled after similar surveys conducted by MNP in other communities across Canada, the results provide an economic snapshot on a range of topics including business climate, hiring intentions, growth expectations, key challenges and other local issues.
Among the key survey findings:
- 29% of respondents reported that the financial performance of their business improved in the past 12 months, 33% said it stayed the same and 31.5% said it was worse. 22% increased the number of people their business employs in that timeframe.
- Looking ahead, 41% of respondents expect their financial performance to improve further in 2017, 25% expect to hire new employees, and 40% expect to increase their capital investment in the next three years.
- The greatest challenge facing local businesses in the next 12 months is a lack of industrial development and/or progress on major projects in the area (21%), followed by a skills shortage and the ability to hire and/or train good staff (16.5%).
- Of the three levels of government – Federal, Provincial and Local – the local government ranked most positively in terms of creating a good climate for business with 48% of respondents assessing them as doing a good or excellent job. However, respondents said there is room for improvement, particularly as it relates to supporting industrial development in the area and streamlining permitting, zoning and approval processes.
- Nearly half of the businesses surveyed do not have a succession plan.
- The Rio Tinto Kitimat Modernization Project was cited by 21.0% of respondents as the top economic success or initiative in the Terrace area, followed by developments in the LNG sector at 16.5%.
- 62% of respondents generally support the idea of amalgamating Thornhill and the City of Terrace.
“Our goal was to take the pulse of local business leaders on a range of topics related to our local economy and economic outlook,” explained Michael Johnson, a partner and business advisor with MNP Terrace. “This type of localized economic data is not readily available and will be extremely valuable to business and government decision makers, as well as organizations that support the growth of local businesses like the Chamber and MNP.”
The survey reflects the opinions of 200 local business owners and senior managers who completed telephone interviews between September 15 to 29, 2016. Survey participants represented businesses from a broad cross-section of industry sectors, sizes and number of years in business.
The survey was conducted by a third-party market research firm, PRA Inc., under the guidance of MNP and the Terrace Chamber. 44% of the businesses reached by PRA participated, which is considered a very high response rate.
Click here to view the survey results.
Source: MNP Terrace