Study Finds Optimism Among PG Businesses
Prince George, B.C. – Businesses in Prince George remain optimistic despite national and global economic challenges.
That was the finding of a new survey of 65 local business persons in the city’s Business Outreach Program for 2016.
The results were shared during a Prince George Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Civic Centre this afternoon.
A wide range of business owners took part – from the real estate and rental leasing sector to food services and forestry, mining, oil and gas.
More than two thirds of the participating companies were in business for over a decade and ranged in size from 1 employee to over 200.
69% of the companies expected to increase their staffing levels within three years – an increase from 46% two years ago.
Another promising figure was that 94% of companies said employee retention is not a problem, another big improvement from 2014 when the response was 61%.
One caveat is that a few companies reported losing employees to the public sector such as the City of Prince George or Northern Health noting it is difficult to keep up with the wage rates.
In terms of sales a whopping 80% of companies projected their sales to increase in the next year. Some of the factors in their optimism included increased demand from the US market maintaining the forest sector and increased export opportunities for the manufacturing industry.
Suggestions for improvements included better access at the airport – namely more direct flights to Canadian, American and international destinations and for increased commercial utilization of the airport (this despite the fact they rated access to airport facilities high).
There was also some concern regarding illegal dumping and calls for the city to help mitigate the problem.
Overall though, manager of economic development Melissa Barcellos was impressed with the results.
“Business owners are reporting that they see improvements to the local business climate and that’s really encouraging considering what the economy globally is facing right now,” she said.
“And the other thing is they are reporting that the workforce is very stable and that was a big change from previous reports where they expected they would have to recruit quite a few more people and would have challenges doing that.”
She said part of the credit goes to city website Move Up Prince George.
“It is working. We’re getting lots of feedback and anecdotal evidence that it’s working and we’ve been tracking our progress by contacting employers that post on the website to see if they’ve hired and if those people are from Prince George already or hiring from Prince George and it’s about 10% coming from outside the city.”
Mayor Lyn Hall said it’s a good news story all around though he noted the city still has work to do.
“Yeah it is. I think the report outcomes are positive yet there’s some things the businesses said to us that we’d really like to look at as far as our operational side and I think this is a chance for us to create a real partnership between the city and the businesses in the community.”
You can read the report by clicking here.