Business confidence hits six-year high

By Alice Richard
Tuesday, 31 January, 2017

Small and medium business (SMB) confidence has surged to its highest level since March 2010, according to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey. The survey revealed that business confidence rose eight points to +46 on a net basis.

More than four times as many SMBs (61%) are now feeling confident than those who are worried (15%). NSW is the most confident state on +54; Tasmania dropped 14 points to +38; and the Northern Territory sits at the bottom, despite a seven-point rise to +16.

“Businesses closed out 2016 on a high, with confidence up seven points for the year and expectations that 2017 will be even stronger. While business owners again felt optimistic about their own specific business strengths, it was the improvement in the perceptions of the economy which really drove confidence higher this quarter,” said Sensis Chief Executive Officer John Allan.

“The national improvement in confidence was primarily driven by businesses in the east coast states. The story in Western Australia and the Northern Territory was very different with businesses there still adjusting to the conditions in the resource sector, although the situation has improved somewhat this quarter.”

Concerns over excessive bureaucracy and red tape have increased since the last survey. “These are the key issues the government needs to address if it is to win over more business owners this year,” said Allan.

Businesses expect all of the key indicators — sales, employment, wages, prices and profitability — to remain positive, with strong results anticipated for sales and profitability in particular.

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