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Business confidence in Auckland remains sluggish, the city's latest chamber of commerce quarterly business confidence survey reveals.
A net 16% of 900 respondents think the general business situation will improve in the next six months, which is up from 12% in May but well below 22% in February.
However, people are more optimistic about their own businesses, with 39% believing their situation will improve in the next six months.
Twenty-four percent are finding it hard to find skilled staff and 5% are struggling to fill unskilled positions.
Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett says the results suggest businesses are waiting for an economic recovery which isn't coming.
He says 30% of small business and 20% of larger ones confirmed demand is the main factor limiting growth, which is normal in a small country.
"If New Zealand firms are going to grow they should be thinking about how they can access those markets and Government agencies should be looking at how they can work with business to make this happen," Mr Barnett says.