Queensland small and medium business confidence collapses on economy fears

The March Quarter 2019 Sensis Business Index, released Tuesday 7 May 2019, reveals small and medium business (SMB) confidence in Queensland collapsed 23 points since December 2018.

The report, which measures SMB activity, expectations and confidence over a three-month period, saw the net confidence balance in Queensland sits two points below the national average at +32 to mark the lowest confidence levels since March 2016.

When it comes to confidence in the economy, Queensland SMBs mirrored the rest of the nation with 24% believing the economy is slowing, 56% thinking it is standing still and 20% believing it is growing, reaching a net balance of -4 (down five points) to match the national average.

Speaking to the results, Sensis Chief Executive Office John Allan said, “From the findings of the March Quarter (2019) Sensis Business Index, it’s clear that Queensland’s small and medium businesses are concerned by the state of the economy, with the largest fall in confidence in over six years witnessed across the state.

“Fears of slowing national and state economies contributed to falling confidence, as did worries of cost pressures and a difficult business environment. Despite this, the state recorded significant rises in all key indicators”.

Regional Queenslanders were once again found to be less confident than their metro counterparts however sat two points above the national average at +33 (falling 30 points). Confidence in Brisbane’s economy fell 29 points to sit five points below the metro average at +30.

“The results found among SMBs in the sunshine state were consistent with nationwide trends of falling confidence levels, with the national average sitting at its lowest level in three years,” Mr Allan said.

“South Australian SMBs were the only state or territory to buck the trend to become the most confident in the country.”

When looking at support for the Federal Government, the net balance increased 13 points to +17 which exceeds the national average by five points, making Queensland the second most supportive of the Federal Government in the lead up to the Federal election behind South Australia.

Nationally, support for the Federal Government by SMBs rose to its highest level since June 2015 at +12.

The Queensland State Government sat on the other end of the scale, remaining the least popular in Australia with its net rating falling four points to -23; its lowest level since June 2016. The leading criticism was excessive bureaucracy followed by payroll tax.

SMBs with a positive opinion felt the State Government is consulting small business, offering incentives, subsidies and grants and are overall supportive of SMBs.

Source: Sensis