CCIWA Chief Economist
Businesses in the bush are heading to Christmas with more festive cheer than those in the city, though uncertainty remains due to worker shortages, supply disruptions and rising costs.
In the final Regional Pulse report of 2021, seven in ten (69%) regional business expect the economy to improve in the next three months, ten points higher than among metro businesses (59%). WA’s Wheatbelt (91%) and the Pilbara (73%) led in confidence, reflecting a record harvest and the continued strength in the resources sector.
At the same time, skills and worker shortages remain chronic, cited as a barrier to growth by every respondent in the Pilbara (100%), and more than four in five respondents in the Wheatbelt (91%) and Great Southern (88%). Highly in-demand roles in our regions include engineers, agricultural workers, administrators and technicians.
Supply chain disruptions are increasing costs for more than three in five regional businesses (63%), the same rate as in the city. Other impacts include material shortages (37%) and the delayed delivery of products (36%). Concern about the escalating cost of doing business remains, cited by three in five regional businesses (60%), highest in the Great Southern (75%), Wheatbelt (73%) and the Kimberley (63%). Nearly four in five (76%) regional businesses are also experiencing higher labour costs, also highest in the Wheatbelt (100%) and Pilbara (87%).
With the prospect of some relief after 5th February, CCIWA will continue to assist businesses to grapple with the re-emergence of more familiar economic issues of cost and supply.
Read the full 2112 Regional Pulse Report