Small and medium businesses’ (SMBs) confidence in the manufacturing industry rose 20 points in the previous quarter, to a net score of +55 – the highest confidence level recorded since 2008.
The key findings of the Sensis Business Index for the March Quarter 2018 are:
- SMB confidence was unchanged with a net balance of +42. This equals the third highest level of confidence recorded since March 2011.
- Confidence was higher in the ACT (up two points to +54 which is equal highest in the nation with Tasmania), Victoria (up six points to +49) and SA (up two points to +36). Lower balances were recorded elsewhere but remained above average in Tasmania (down six points to +54) and NSW (down three points to +43).
- Queensland (down 2 points to +41) was only one point under the average. Confidence reached one of the lowest levels recorded in the NT at +2 (down 10 points) and SMBs in WA also found business conditions tougher than most recording a net balance of +24 (down seven points).
- The overall assessment of the economy improved for the fourth quarter in succession and is at the highest level recorded since December 2010. Three in ten SMBs believe it is growing (30%) which is more than twice the proportion who feel it is slowing (13%).
- Last quarter, the wages balance rose but the other key performance indicator results were lower and in negative territory for employment and profitability. Despite the softer conditions just experienced, expectations for the current quarter are positive on all key performance indicators and improved for sales and profitability.
- Opinions of the Federal Government shifted back into positive territory with the net balance rising six points to +3. The belief that it supports small business and tax-related reasons are again the factors impacting most on positive perceptions.
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