THE SENSIS BUSINESS INDEX for Small / Medium Enterprises in November 2005 shows:
1)Business confidence is unchanged at 55 per cent (68 per cent confident versus 13 per cent worried).
2)Businesses feeling less confident mostly said it was because of a decrease in demand, followed by the impact of increasing fuel prices.
3)Queensland has the highest levels of small business confidence at 70 per cent, while New South Wales again has the lowest confidence at 45 per cent (NSW has had the lowest level in the nation for five of the last six quarters).
4)Regional businesses (59 per cent) again have higher confidence levels than their metropolitan counterparts (54 per cent).
5)Confidence is highest among SMEs in the accommodation, caf?s and restaurants sector (73 per cent) and lowest in the retail trade sector (33 per cent).
PERCEPTIONS OF THE ECONOMY:
SMEs improved their rating of the economy for the second successive quarter.
1)Fourteen per cent of businesses now believe the Australian economy is currently in a growth phase, up four percentage points from last quarter (36 per cent say growth phase versus 22 per cent say slowing).
2)Expectations about the future state of economy dropped four percentage points during the quarter.
3)Negative one per cent of SMEs believe the economy will be better off in one year’s time (20 per cent say it will be better, versus 21 per cent say it will be worse).
1)Finding quality staff increased as a concern by two percentage points over the quarter to 14 per cent. It is the most pressing concern facing SMEs and is at higher levels than at any time in the 12-year history of the Sensis? Business Index.
2)A shortage of skilled workers continues to be the predominant reason why SMEs have difficulties finding quality staff. In New South Wales, rates of pay are a significant issue, whereas Tasmanian SMEs are concerned that employees are simply not available. Skills are a large issue for the manufacturing sector, while the pay rate is the predominant issue for the retail sector. Quality of staff is the key problem in the accommodation, caf?s and restaurants sector.
3)Petrol and freight costs are the second most significant issue, cited by 11 per cent of SMEs.
4)The prime concern for nine percent of SMEs is lack of work, which is at the second highest level since the Sensis? Business Index started.