The March Quarter 2019 Sensis Business Index, released Tuesday 7 May 2019, reveals the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) small and medium businesses (SMB) are amongst the most confident in the country.
The report, which measures SMB activity, expectations and confidence over a three-month period, found despite a one-point fall in the confidence net balance +45, businesses in the ACT were the second most confident in the nation, sitting 11 points above the national average and behind the top spot occupied by South Australia.
Speaking to the results, Sensis Chief Executive Officer John Allan said, “The March Quarter (2019) Sensis Business Index shows us that small and medium businesses in the nation’s capital feel confident. Confidence stems from healthy sales and businesses being established, indicating a strong environment for SMBs to prosper.”
“Of those who lack confidence, falling sales and cost pressures headline their concerns,” Mr Allan continued.
The results were less positive when looking at perceptions of the State Government, with support falling 17 points to -19, the second lowest rating in the nation following Queensland (-23).
“Businesses in the ACT have expressed concerns over excessive costs to SMBs and high taxation, contributing to the lowest level of support for the Territory Government in over six years,” Mr Allan said.
SMB support for the Federal Government also dropped, falling one point to +1. The balance sat 11 points under the national average and only above the Northern Territory on the scale.
“SMB perceptions of the economy fell in ACT to below the national average, with 25% of businesses believing the economy to be slowing down which, paired with below average key performance results, could contribute to a lack of support for territory and federal governments,” Mr Allan said.
Falls were witnessed in sales (down four points to -3), wages (down 24 points to +3), prices (down one point to +15) and profitability (down 22 to -9), while employment improved slightly on balance (up seven points to +12) for ACT SMBs.
“The report shows a mixed bag of current quarter expectations for businesses in the ACT, with wages and employment significantly lower than previously, while sales soared 13 points. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next three months,” Mr Allan concluded.