Business confidence is stabilising among companies, according to the latest Economic Trends Survey by Cork Chamber.
According to the survey conducted in the first quarter of 2021, 84% of respondents reported business confidence, showing a clear upward trajectory from the 68% in Q3 of 2020. A further 42% of businesses anticipate an increase in turnover in the second quarter of 2021.
In relation to employment, 43% of businesses said they planned to increase employee numbers over the next 12 months. This is a significant increase on the same quarter last year when just 16% of respondents anticipated an expansion of their workforce. The survey found that 54% of companies currently have vacancies advertised, with 27% reporting difficulty filling open roles.
Cork Chamber surveyed businesses on their views on the second quarter of 2021 and the year ahead, and member thoughts on the most recent business quarter. It encapsulates a period within which Ireland moved into the third level 5 lockdown.
Cork Chamber president Paula Cogan said the past three months have been an incredibly challenging time. "At the outset of the pandemic in 2020, we talked of resilience, and the most recent quarter has certainly required a huge amount of resilience from businesses, communities, and individuals everywhere," she said.
"It’s an encouraging testament to the Cork business community that, while there have been what seemed like insurmountable challenges at times, these were tackled and approached with the pragmatism and determination that shines through time and again from businesses here in Cork.
"We saw a very positive steadying of business confidence in this first quarter, with 84% of respondents reporting business confidence, consistent with the previous quarter, Q4 2020, which noted 83% of respondents indicating confidence, an upward trajectory from the 68% in Q3 of 2020.
“We also report that 43% of respondents are expecting an increase to employee numbers over the 12 months ahead, with businesses clearly planning for the reopening.
"Government must support this planning with timely engagement that supports and facilitates these efforts, offering as much certainty and communicating on developments as early as possible to the business community.”