Confidence in the business outlook has almost halved since February among Auckland companies surveyed by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
The latest Quarterly Business Confidence Survey of almost 900 companies shows only a net 12 per cent of respondents think the general business situation in New Zealand will improve in the near future, down from 22 per cent in February.
However when it comes to their own business outlook, almost half of respondents see a rosier future, only slightly down from the February survey.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said the results show there is a sense of caution among businesses due to global economic issues and shrinking margins locally.
''Business is finding the market conditions continue to be challenging and they now need to look at other areas to make cost savings'' Barnett said.
The survey also found 22 per cent of those surveyed were finding it hard to employ skilled staff and most businesses said their capital investment in buildings and machinery was likely to remain unchanged in the next year.
On the positive side, only 17 per cent of respondents expect interest rates to rise in the next year, compared to 30 per cent in February.