Two recent surveys have shown that business confidence in Barbados remains low while the majority of business operators here believe current economic conditions will remain unchanged for the next six months.
In fact, a whopping 70 per cent of participants in the Survey of Economic Expectations believe that not enough was being done to attract investment from foreign companies, with only four per cent of respondents suggesting that enough was being done. About 18 per cent said they did not know.
In addition, about 27 per cent believe that economic recovery will take between three to four years; 23 per cent said it would take more than four years, while 21 per cent said between two to three years. About 18 per cent of the respondents said recovery would take between one to two years, and 11 per cent were unsure.
Moreover, almost a third or 70 per cent of those surveyed did not believe that Barbados was in sustained economic recovery.
In the Business Outlook survey, the majority of the correspondents indicated that the unemployment rate was likely to increase, though employment at their organization should remain the same.
And almost 77 per cent of the participants indicated that the national economic performance was a constraint on their business.
Regulation and paperwork as well as cash flow and debtors were identified as “the important problems” facing the firms surveyed. This was followed by low turnover.
The surveys, which were conducted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in collaboration with ABELIAN Consulting Services, were designed to “provide a snapshot of business opinions regarding the expected future state of their business, their industry, their economic sector and the overall Barbados economy”.
Respondents represented a range of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, financial services, construction, health, transportation and technology, among others.
Despite the dim outlook on the economy the majority of the correspondents expected business activity to increase with regard to their operations.
However, 55 per cent of those involved in the construction industry expect activities in residential to decrease, nine per cent expect an increase and 36 per cent expect things to remain
The majority of the firms or 36 per cent indicated that despite the economic conditions they were maintaining employment, 31 per cent said they had reduced their workforce and 15 per cent said they were increasing employment.