The economy is considered healthier than at any time since 2010, and is expected to remain strong in 2018. Almost three in ten (29%) small and medium businesses (SMBs) believe the economy is growing. This is nearly double the proportion who believe it is slowing (15%), resulting in a net balance score of (+14).
The key findings of the Sensis Business Index for the December Quarter 2017 are:
- There was a four point decrease in business confidence since last quarter – dropping from net +46 to +42 (59% confident – 17% worried). This is equal to the third highest confidence level recorded since March 2011.
- Despite positive business confidence and perceptions of the economy, support for the Federal Government has fallen into negative territory for the first time in nine months.
- Across the nation, business confidence was lower in each state but Tasmania, where it increased 10 points to +60, and in Queensland where it was one point higher at +43. Tasmania became the most confident state or territory while the Northern Territory remained the least confident, also recording the biggest decrease in confidence, down 14 points to +12.
- Metropolitan business confidence continues to outpace regional, by 9 points (+46 versus +37). This is despite confidence falling faster in metropolitan areas, down 4 points, where regional confidence fell by 2 points.
- Confidence remains relatively high in all sectors except transport and storage and retail trade, which both found conditions tough in the last quarter. Despite this, retail trade is showing some signs of a turnaround for this quarter and for early 2018.
- At the state and territory government level, the only favourable ratings were for the Tasmanian, NSW and NT governments. The SA government remains the most widely criticised by SMBs.
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