12 Dec 2011

Christchurch firms stay positive about future

1:51 pm on 12 December 2011

The latest survey has found firms in Christchurch are upbeat about the region's future, despite ongoing struggles dealing with the devastation wrought by major earthquakes in the past year.

The Department of Labour's Canterbury Employers Survey of 1700 firms in October found the quakes cost business income and jobs.

The survey appears to back up anecdotal evidence about the effects of the quakes which cost lives, damaged much of the central business district and disrupted the region's economy.

While manufacturing and farming remained relatively unscathed, other sectors such as retailing, hospitality and tourism suffered badly.

Some 40% of businesses reported a drop in income while a fifth maintained revenue levels and another fifth reported higher earnings.

Just over half of all workplaces maintained staff levels but in most sectors a higher proportion of businesses saw a reduction in staff numbers than an increase, apart from construction, farming, transport and utilities.

Those most affected by staff losses were also the most likely to have had to move due to damaged or inaccessible premises.

Just under 50% received the Earthquake Support subsidy, with most saying it had helped them keep their business going.

Challenges remain, including difficulties in retaining and attracting staff; renewing insurance policies, particularly for large employers, and resolving insurance payments.

However, respondents expect a better year ahead and are adamant they can overcome the current problems as the region gets back of its feet.