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Business lacks confidence in Bermuda’s economic future

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By the numbers: Kendaree Burgess, right, the chief executive officer of the Chamber of Commerce, is seen with Louise Twiss West, head of wholesale banking at HSBC Bermuda, left, and Chamber president Nathan Kowalski during the presentation of the results of the Business Barometer Survey (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Just one third of businesses are confident in Bermuda’s economic future, a survey by the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce has revealed.

And the Business Barometer Survey shows that fewer than half (41 per cent) of businesses are aware of the Government’s economic recovery plan, and only one in five of those who are aware believe it is supportive to their business.

Of the 34 per cent of respondents who expressed confidence in the island’s economic future, just four per cent were extremely confident while 30 per cent were somewhat confident.

However, despite anticipated increases to inflation and other business challenges, survey respondents have confidence in their business’ economic future in Bermuda – with 64 per cent of respondents saying they were completely (19 per cent) or somewhat (45 per cent) confident in that regard.

Moreover, of the 107 Chamber members that completed the survey, 62 per cent were extremely confident (16 per cent) or somewhat confident (46 per cent) regarding the ability to generate revenue in the next 12 months – although they lack confidence in their ability to hire additional staff.

Margaret Chapman, COO and partner in Narrative Research Bermuda which conducted the survey said: “I was surprised to see how optimistic and positive businesses were about the future given the challenges. It is heartening to see that positivity.”

She put the contrast between the level of confidence in the island’s economic future with the confidence in business owners’ individual futures down to “a matter of control”.

Ms Chapman added: “A business owner can control their costs within reason, but sees a much larger issue when talking about a country’s economy.”

The survey also revealed that approximately three in ten businesses received funding support between 12 and 24 months ago, while two in ten received funding in the past year.

However, of those who received funding from the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation or another type of loan, the survey said, just under half anticipate challenges paying back their funding.

The survey also found that there has been a steady decline in consumer confidence over the last two years, though levels are above where they were at the start of the pandemic and throughout the recession over a decade ago.

Ms Chapman said: “The level has fallen, but we are seeing it start to level off.”

The online survey by the Chamber took place between August 9 and September 16 last year.

The results, announced Tuesday, are meant to be a snapshot of the overall health of businesses in Bermuda and what changes are necessary to move forward post-pandemic.

Levelling off: Margaret Chapman, COO and partner in Narrative Research Bermuda, presented the Business Barometer Survey results at the HSBC Harbourview Centre (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published January 11, 2023 at 8:00 am (Updated January 11, 2023 at 9:39 am)

Business lacks confidence in Bermuda’s economic future

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