Business confidence in Auckland has almost halved since February, says Auckland chamber of commerce.
Just 12% of 900 respondents to its quarterly business confidence survey believe the general business situation in New Zealand will improve over the next six months - down from 22% in February.
Almost half believe their own business situation will improve, down slightly from February.
Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett says the results show businesses remain cautious.
He told NBR ONLINE businesses struggling to find skilled staff was a concern because a lack of skilled employees inhibits ability to grow.
He says it continues to be hard to find such workers, particularly engineers and information communication technology specialists.
"Business is finding the market conditions to be challenging and they now need to look at other areas to make cost savings," he says.
"The results really do reflect businesses are holding onto their money and keeping an eye on global issues."
The survey also showed 22% of businesses are finding it hard to recruit skilled staff, while most were not expecting to increase their spending on buildings or machinery over the next year.
However, 17% are positive interest rates on loans would not rise over the next 12 months, down from 30% in February.
Mr Barnett says people’s reflections on confidence are based on what they hear in the media.
“A lot of news is expressing concern and caution, which is reflected in the survey's results.”
He says early indications are that farmers and rural businesses are much more confident because of steady Fonterra payouts.