The chairman of the St. John’s Board of Trade says the organization’s annual mid-year economic report shows St. John’s is booming.
Denis Mahoney said Tuesday the board is pleased — but not surprised — by the report, released Monday.
“We are in the middle and continue to experience a boom in this province, and we think that the people in this province are very much a part of that boom, and we’re very pleased to see it,” he said.
Results were gathered via surveys sent out to all members of the Board of Trade — about 880 businesses and organizations — with more than 70 surveys returned completed. Mahoney said he wasn’t worried that the results weren’t skewed by representing just those member businesses who chose to complete the survey, pointing out that there was a range of responses.
“If you look at some of the indicators, for example, there were a number of businesses, 43 per cent, who anticipate employment growth over the next 12 months,” he said. “So there’s a number of businesses responding, anticipating that they’re not going to see employment growth, by way of example. So we think the report is balanced, that we’re getting a range of indicators being expressed by a broad range of the membership of the St. John’s Board of Trade, and we think the trends are fairly consistent, and generally reflective of the economy, certainly in this province.”
The information is being distributed to member businesses, said Mahoney. In the run-up to next month’s municipal election, the board has been highlighting several issues — such as development and infrastructure — it thinks are important for voters to think about, and Mahoney says this report helps provide context for those issues.
See EFFECT, page D2
Effect boom will have on communities should be considered: Mahoney
“On the development piece, this report indicates that the optimism is linked to the amount of development, the amount of construction, the amount of infrastructure work, as well as the oil and gas expansion,” Mahoney said.
“That provides the context for people to recognize that we are going to continue to see a boom in this province. We have to make it sustainable and we need to think about the impact that that’s going to have on our communities in this province.”
Other results from the report:
• 44.3 per cent of businesses say their financial position is better than it was in 2013, 41.4 per cent say it’s about the same, and 8.6 per cent say it’s worse, with the rest of the responses falling into “not applicable” and “don’t know” categories;
• 58 per cent of respondents are very concerned (ranking their concern at eight or higher on a 10-point scale) about not being able to find qualified workers;
• 71.8 per cent of business owners think immigration is “very” or “somewhat” important to meeting future labour needs, 22.6 per cent think it’s “not very” or “not at all” important, while the rest don’t know or prefer not to stay.