Small business confidence heading for high points in Gympie in 2017
Small business confidence in the Gympie region is higher than other parts of Queensland, according to latest research by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).
The CCIQ-Suncorp Pulse Survey of Business Conditions – the largest poll of its kind in Queensland – found confidence levels were higher (48.5) than the average of businesses state wide (47.9)
CCIQ has teamed up with the Gympie Regional Council to provide a Pulse snapshot for the region covering the January 1-March 31 quarter.
About 60 local businesses responded to the survey, as part of almost 600 across Queensland.
The last Pulse survey for the December quarter showed business confidence in Queensland had jumped to its highest level in three years and the signs were very positive for the following 12 months.
CCIQ chief economist Steven Gosarevski said business confidence in the state economy recorded another substantial increase in the March quarter, rising to its highest level since 2014.
“Despite the strong improvement over the past six months, confidence is still below the neutral level (50.0),” he said.
Mr Gosarevski said the survey responses in the Gympie region represented businesses across most industries, with retail trade, hospitality and agriculture the largest contributors.
“This is generally representative of the regional industry profile, where these industries represent a large share of total business registrations and total employment,” he said.
“The survey also captured businesses of all sizes, ranging from 0-5 employees to businesses with over 100 staff. More than 90 per cent of the sample was represented by businesses with under 20 employees which is reflective of total business registrations in the region.”
Gympie respondents were slightly below Regional Queensland in their sentiment on the Queensland economy, but ahead of the Queensland average for the March quarter.
“The businesses that reported higher levels of optimism and confidence indicated tourism markets were improving while others expected higher levels of construction spending in property markets and greater government funding for infrastructure,” said Mr Gosarevski.
“When asked about opinions for the outlook in the year ahead, many businesses cited poor government leadership and a lack of infrastructure investment as factors impacting the state outlook.
“Businesses have also indicated concern about the impact of Tropical Cyclone Debbie and its large damage bill as a reason for concern.”
Operating conditions for businesses in the Gympie region were above the state average for most categories in the March quarter. General Business Conditions (49.2) outranked both Regional Queensland (48.5) and the Queensland average (48.7).
Businesses reported stronger Sales & Revenues during the period (53.2) but weaker Profitability (46.0).
“It appears the stronger revenue growth was offset by higher staffing costs associated with businesses raising Employment Levels (51.6) while also facing higher Labour Costs (58.9),” said Mr Gosarevski.
“Businesses in the Gympie region are expecting further improvements to General Business Conditions in the quarter ahead (51.7).
“The levels of optimism are a significant improvement to the past quarter and slightly above the average for the state and regional areas.”
Across the multiple indicators of business activity, Gympie businesses are optimistic about conditions, with index scores above 50.0 for all indicators.
“In particular, confidence is strongest for the Sales & Revenue indicator (59.7), although expectations for Profitability (52.5) may be dampened by businesses expecting to increase levels of Employment (53.2) and pay higher wages (55.4),” he said.
This first Pulse survey for 2017 will be significant for CCIQ in understanding how the current business conditions will affect SMEs over the coming months.
The survey will help form CCIQ’s bi-annual Red Tape Report, to be presented to the State Government, to address the significant regulatory burden facing Queensland’s small businesses. It also allows CCIQ to represent the interests of Queensland small businesses at the state and federal level.