The March Quarter 2019 Sensis Business Index, released Tuesday 7 May 2019, reveals South Australian small and medium businesses (SMB) are the most confident in Australia.
The report, which measures SMB activity, expectations and confidence over a three-month period, found SA business confidence has reached an 11-year high with a five-point lift in the balance to +56.
Speaking to the results, Sensis Chief Executive Officer John Allan said, “When looking at the March Quarter (2019) Sensis Business Index, it’s clear small business confidence is booming in South Australia.
“Our research found a huge 68% of SMBs are positive about their business prospects with the net balance of +56 sitting 22 points above the national average and 13 points ahead of the second highest result found in the ACT,” Mr Allan continued.
Regional SMBs played a large role in the rise in confidence levels, with the net balance lifting a huge 44 points to a record high of +71, 41 points above the regional average.
Despite witnessing a fall of nine points, SMBs in Adelaide claimed the most confident metropolitan spot at +52, 17 points above the national metropolitan average.
“South Australia is the only state in Australia where regional confidence is actually higher than in the state capitals to indicate a healthy regional environment for SMBs in the south,’ said Mr Allan.
Unsurprisingly, the SA Government’s support rating lifted two points to +19, consolidating its position as the second most popular state or territory government for SMBs. Respondents praised the Government for being supportive of small business, reducing payroll tax and offering tax cuts.
Despite falling one point to +18, South Australian SMBs remained the most supportive of the Federal Government, sitting six points above the national average.
“When looking at positivity toward state and federal governments, it’s clear South Australian businesses feel supported by both levels, contributing to the 11-year high confidence,” Mr Allan said.
South Australian SMBs were less positive about the state of the national economy however, with 16% saying the economy is slowing, 66% saying it was stagnant, and 18% said it is growing – ahead of only NT (8%) and WA (16%).
The report showcases positive expectations for the quarter across all key performance indicators, improving sales (up 10 to +25), profitability (up 12 to +27) and wages (up nine to +18). Prices remained steady (+18) and employment fell slightly however remained positive (down six to +7).
“It’s great to see strong expectations across the key performance areas in SA despite over three in five businesses feeling the economy is standing still.
“We hope to see this confidence continue over the next three months,” Mr Allan concluded.