The last screw is in and the mural at Betty’z Edje North is up! (Deb Meissner photo)

Northwest businesses in better shape and more optimistic

New survey indicates North Coast and Nechako businesses not as impacted as provincial counterparts

Businesses in the Northwest are in general doing better and are more optimistic about the future than most other parts of the province according to results of a survey released last week.

The sixth version of the COVID-19 Impact Pulse Check conducted by BC MindReader on behalf of the BC Chamber of Commerce, reported only 11 per cent of businesses in the North Coast & Nechako regions are in “poor shape,” the lowest by half of any of the seven regions and the provincial average.

Furthermore, 42 per cent of Northwest businesses surveyed reported being in “good shape,” double that of any other region and the provincial average.

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Only Thompson-Okanagan had more businesses claiming to be in “very good shape” with 14 per cent compared to nine per cent for North Coast and Nechako.

No respondents from the Northwest said their businesses are in “very poor shape” compared to the provincial average of 12 per cent.

Perhaps not surprisingly, those results translate to how optimistic regional businesses are. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Northwest businesses are either “very optimistic”, “optimistic” or neutral about the next 12 months, again leading all the regions except Kootenay where 75 per cent.

READ MORE: RBC economist: Stronger economic growth for Canada expected in rest of 2021

However, in Kootenay only five per cent were “very optimistic” compared to 16 per cent in North Coast-Nechako.

In terms of how long businesses expected to be able to continue to operate if current restrictions remain in place, 62 per cent believed they would last more than a year compared to 41 per cent on average. Only two per cent said they would last less than three months compared to 11 per cent for the province on average.

The second most confident region was Thompson Okanagan where just over half of businesses believed they could go on more than 12 months.

Overall, the survey found 36 per cent of businesses reported being in poor or very poor shape.

It noted 68 per cent of businesses are using some form of government assistance, the most useful being Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program (41 per cent).

The greatest long-term impact of COVID-19 according to 67 per cent of respondents was an increase in the cost of doing business.

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Smithers Interior News