City economy

Business confidence bounces back

Our yearly survey unveils key insights into emerging trends, challenges and opportunities.

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Businesses across the local area have reported a surge in confidence for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

In response to our recent annual business needs survey, more than 75% of respondents said they expect their business will be financially better off in the coming year – a significant improvement from the previous 2 years.

While the results consider the challenging broader economic outlook, there is an overarching optimistic view.

Potts Point Bookshop owner Anna Low
Potts Point Bookshop owner Anna Low

Potts Point Bookshop owner, Anna Low said “Broadly speaking, working from home during the pandemic was a fairly positive experience for my business because it resulted in sales spread more throughout the day.”

While we continue to experience supply chain issues and delays in the supply of some books, I am extremely positive about the future for my business. People value books and the range and quality of books available gets better and better.

Key highlights

  • 3 in every 4 respondents expect they will be financially better off in 12 months
  • the local economy has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, though uneven across some sectors
  • the return of students, tourists and migrants is set to drive economic growth during 2023 from 2023 onwards, economic growth in the local area is expected to outpace both the state and national average
  • after a tough few years, the hospitality sector is set for a strong recovery
  • overseas permanent migration is set to return with force in 2023
  • two-thirds of businesses reported their staffing levels in 2022 increased or remained the same compared to May 2021. 90% of these businesses also expect their staffing levels to remain the same or increase over the next year.

Kepos Street Kitchen in Redfern
Kepos Street Kitchen in Redfern

Redfern’s Kepos Street Kitchen owner, Michael Rantissi said that despite customers being more cautious on their discretionary spending due to the rising cost of living, he feels positive about the future of his business.

“We’ve been lucky to be able to operate throughout Covid, thanks to an incredibly supportive local community. We started with one product in our deli-fridge takeaway range and now stock 65 products,” Michael said.

“We’ve also just celebrated our 10-year anniversary and have a new venue at Carriageworks.

While the last two years have been difficult, there is a lot to look forward to.

Business needs

While the overarching theme is optimistic, the report also highlights the broader economic challenges for businesses. Current business needs include financial support such as business grants, precinct promotional and marketing support, assistance with seeking employees, and calls for less red tape and regulation.

This year’s business needs survey was delivered with the support of Business Sydney and BIS Oxford Economics.

The report also highlights that business needs are changing and will continue to do so as the environment improves. In line with this, we recently developed a new economic strategy discussion paper which sets out a plan to support long-term economic growth and prosperity across our area. Feedback from businesses, employers, workers and the wider community is open until Friday 16 December.

Read the full 2022 business needs survey report.

Published 1 December 2022, updated 14 February 2024