A survey by the NSW Business Chamber shows improving conditions for at least some Illawarra businesses heading into 2013.
The survey found NSW businesses generally expected a rough year ahead as key indicators of business conditions such as sales revenue, profits, exports and employment remained in negative territory.
But Illawarra Business Chamber interim chief executive Mike Halloran was encouraged by the responses given by about 80 enterprises surveyed in the Illawarra region.
Mr Halloran said the research showed conditions were improving for some businesses in the Illawarra and the result was generally better than what was being said among the 1000 businesses surveyed statewide.
Responses showed that during the final three months of 2012, 43 per cent of Illawarra businesses surveyed reported an increase in sales revenue compared to just 28 per cent statewide.
Only 35 per cent of businesses in the Illawarra reported a decrease in profits compared to 47 per cent across NSW.
And 24 per cent of businesses in the Illawarra reported an increase in the number of employees, compared to 14 per cent of all businesses surveyed.
Mr Halloran said the great news followed positive news from BlueScope Steel in its half-yearly results announced on Monday.
‘‘There are definitely pockets of positive news in the Illawarra and local businesses are less pessimistic than those in the rest of the state,’’ he said. ‘‘There is a flicker of hope for our local economy. More businesses in the Illawarra are seeing positive or constant trends in sales revenue, wage rates and number of employees.
‘‘The results of this survey show that there are some pockets of good performance in the Illawarra economy, particularly in the professional, scientific and technical services and the financial and insurance services industries.’’
He said the business community was less pessimistic than others in NSW. Mr Halloran said that did not mean everything was rosy for Illawarra businesses because many still faced tough conditions.