From bust to small business boom in the Sunshine State

Friday 3 March, 2017 | By: Default Admin | Tags: start-ups, new business entrants, healthcare, tradies

Tradies, healthcare specialists and financial gurus advising how to spend or save your money are driving a small business boom in Queensland.

The release of the latest small business data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week reveals a “positive story” for the small business community, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).

CCIQ senior policy advisor Catherine Pham said the overall increase in small businesses entering the market (2.1 per cent) means more small businesses are giving Queenslanders a job.

Ms Pham said more than 60,000 new businesses started up in Queensland in 2015-16. While about 52,000 closed, were sold or changed status, that led to a net gain of 8000 new businesses.

“This is great news for Queensland as it means more businesses opening, more jobs and growth. It demonstrates that the small business sector is the engine room of the state economy,” she said.

Leading the new business field was healthcare and social assistance (up 5.15 per cent), financial and insurance services (4.91 per cent), accommodation and food services (3.16 per cent) and construction (2.12 per cent).

“Queensland’s economy is currently facing an extraordinary time of transition and it is small business that is at the forefront of shaping the modern economy,” Ms Pham said.

“The spike in new businesses underscores improved economic conditions and small business confidence across the December Quarter, as highlighted by the CCIQ-Suncorp Pulse Survey and monthly Queensland Economic Update.

“Confidence in the national and state economies both recorded a rise in the December Quarter with the 12-month outlook, with Queensland recording its first major uplift in more than three years.

“Improved sentiment towards the Queensland economy is remarkable following sustained caution and pessimism across the past two years.

“The December Quarter has seen a clear shift in sentiment, with the business community indicating that business conditions are improving, encouraging a return in economic activity and consumer confidence and spending.

“And this is now being reflected in the number of small businesses choosing to open the door and call Queensland home.”

The ABS figures showed almost all industries boosted their number of small businesses. There was a big jump in transport businesses in the “taxi and other road transport” and “other transport support services” sector, which saw a 12.3 per cent increase and 876 new registrations.

“The recent numbers highlight the growing strength of Queensland’s services sector, but at the same time the continued decline of businesses in our primary industries of agriculture (-1.3 per cent), mining (-3.1 per cent) and manufacturing (-0.5 per cent),” Ms Pham said.

“The ABS figures show the number of retail businesses had slightly reduced in the 2015-16 financial year (-1.0 per cent). However, actual sales picked up later in the year.”

Recent data from CCIQ in the Queensland Economic Update shows that the state’s retail trade has recorded three straight months of nation-leading growth, with a record $9.2 billion retail spend at Christmas, posting an increase of 3.9 per cent in the 12 months to January 1, 2017.

“The ABS figures show many small businesses in sectors which have been heavily affected by the rise of digital commerce and increased competition with overseas manufacturers were hardest hit, including those in furniture retailing, electrical and gas appliances, hardware and building supplies, newspaper and book, and marine equipment retailing,” she said.

“However, in recent months key economic indicators have highlighted that a recovery is occurring across Queensland as the state shifts further from the mining investment boom.

“A decline in unemployment from a recent high of 6.7 per cent, combined with nation-leading retail trade figures and rising job vacancies, suggest that Queensland is on the improve at the beginning of 2017.

“As momentum has built across a number of key indicators, optimism has also returned to many small business, with business now expected improved economic conditions across the next twelve months in Queensland.

“With the small business community expecting increases in overall business conditions and sales and revenue during 2017, it is hoped that this will further underpin a return to improved profitability, private sector investment, and job creation.”

Ms Pham noted that of 417,442 small businesses (employing <20 people) operating at June 2012, only 249,217 were still operating at June 2016.

“That translates to two out of every five businesses closing down, being sold or changing status. But the fact that we seeing so many new businesses starting up in Queensland and a net gain, that has to be good news for the state’s economy.”

Small business (<20 employees) growth across industries; July 2015 – June 2016

new biz graphic

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