Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Economy is on the Rise

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Business Performance Sentiment Index (Business PSI), designed by McCrindle, is an ongoing measure of business conditions, performance and sentiment. The Lower Hunter PSI is an initiative of Maxim Accounting with support from NAB.

The Business PSI takes the pulse of business across a region and tracks changes in the health of the local and national economy over time. This edition of the Business PSI (2017) features the latest results for the Lower Hunter region. This report also features longitudinal comparisons to last year’s deployment of the Business PSI (2016).

The Business PSI measures three core business characteristics: business conditions, performance and sentiment. The PSI uniquely charts these measures on a scale that ranges from accelerating on the extreme positive to collapsing on the extreme negative. Each of the three core measures (conditions, performance, and sentiment) are comprised of three sub-measures which are derived from the results of several individual survey questions.

The Lower Hunter region continues to show strong, consistent growth and an optimistic outlook.

One in three households (34%) own their home outright (compared to 32% in NSW and 31% nationally) and the region reports a rise in household income of 45% from 2006 to 2016, compared to Australia which has seen a rise of 39%.

Impressively, this year’s PSI results show that the positive operating condition for businesses in the Lower Hunter have further increased since last year.

This year’s results highlight a continued struggle for businesses against red tape and regulation as well as an expressed concern for local infrastructure provision. These challenges are offset, however, with the expectation of business expansion in 2018 and this positive sentiment in the Lower Hunter economy is the dominant theme in this year’s Business PSI report.

Download the full Lower Hunter PSI report here. 

Download the full Lower Hunter PSI infographic here.

Hills Business Performance Sentiment Index

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

On Friday in conjunction with The Hills Shire Council and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, we released the Hills Business Performance Sentiment Index which gives an ongoing measure of the local economic conditions and business confidence. 

This study, now in its third year is very important in an entrepreneurial hotspot like the Hills, which is home to more than 20,000 businesses and almost 100,000 employees. 

The area is also strong with start-ups, which are expanding the local economy. Every week in the Hills, 15 new businesses commence operations and with the new transport infrastructure, commercial constructions and emerging urban centres, the number of new business start-ups locally will likely accelerate.

This year’s results highlight the challenging conditions local businesses are currently experiencing. The overall rating this year is lower than last year although the forward forecast remains strong. The current economic conditions are subdued and business expenses are up, yet such is the way of Australian entrepreneurs, their sentiment and outlook is decidedly positive.

Of the 21 measures, the two that scored the lowest, highlighting the biggest challenges, were the increasing business costs and the local infrastructure challenges. The highest two scores indicated that revenue forecasts for the six months ahead will rise and that local businesses forecast they will take on more staff this year. Therefore, the flat domestic economy, issues from under-construction local infrastructure and higher costs to revenue metrics are all viewed as temporary, though challenging circumstances.

Our thanks go to The Hills Shire Council and the Sydney Hills Business Chamber who recognise the importance of this Business Performance Sentiment Index in a growing local economy, amidst volatile times and facing massive change. Their foresight to commission such a project, commitment to its ongoing deployment and generosity in making it freely available to the business community is to be heartily commended.

Download the full report here.

Click below to view the previous Hills PSI Reports

Understanding and supporting business in the Hills Shire: The second Hills Shire Business PSI

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2016 marks the second Hills Shire edition of the Business PSI, a tracking index created by McCrindle to measure business conditions, performance, and sentiment through a survey of businesses residing in the Hills Shire area. The Business PSI can be used across local governments and regions to better understand and support local business.

The Sydney Hills population is growing 20% faster than the national average (1.9% p.a. compared to 1.6% p.a.) at 169,872 people each year, with average households being significantly larger than the national average (3.1 compared to 2.6 people per household) and home to a higher proportion of students, university educated adults and full time workers than the national and state averages.

The Hills Shire Business PSI is an important measure for an area that relies so heavily on small business as a driver of the local economy. The 2016 survey was conducted 6 months on from the initial survey and captures the constant change in the Hills Shire region.

Download the full report here.

Businesses expanding and growing in the Hills Shire

The results from 2016 show that the business environment is more positive 6 months on from the last survey with sentiment being significantly improved from last year. Businesses are expanding and projected to expand even more in the next 6 months, with business owners seeing this not only as a physical expansion but also due to increases in staffing levels, as the region continues to grow.

Business owners more positive about national economic conditions

Business owners perceive the economic conditions of our nation to be considerably better than 6 months ago with conditions expected to improve even more over the next 6 months. This increase was also reflected in perceptions of the local economic conditions.

New Additions to the PSI survey

The Net Promoter Score was introduced in 2016 as a measure of how likely business owners and managers are to recommend doing business in The Hills Shire to a friend or colleague. 78% indicated that they would probably or definitely recommend The Hills Shire as a place to do business to a friend or colleague, showing high levels of engagement.

Chairman of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber, Anthony Moss, in partnership with the Hills Shire Council, commissioned the Business PSI to measure the pulse of the Hills Shire. “The Business PSI survey results reflect a true snapshot of business in the region. We are thankful for those who completed the survey, including individuals representing businesses of all sizes including, medium to large (20+ staff), small (5-19 staff), micro (1-5 staff) and non-employing businesses.”

Hills Shire Council Mayor Dr Michelle Burns endorses the PSI tool. “The Sydney Hills Business Chamber and the team at McCrindle Research have done another fantastic job at measuring the sentiment of businesses in The Hills. It’s great to hear that the sentiment is generally improving – however it’s unsurprising that the main frustration of businesses is infrastructure.”

The results of the 2nd Hills Shire Business PSI were presented on 11 May 2016 at the Castle Hill RSL and are available for download via the Sydney Hills Business Chamber website.


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