BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ON THE RISE

Written on the 2 April 2014

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ON THE RISE BUSINESSES will be looking to take on new staff in the coming months, indicating confidence in the economy according to research by Dun & Bradstreet.

The latest Business Expectations Survey shows 22 per cent of businesses plan to hire this quarter, the highest level since the start of 2011.

Chief executive officer Gareth Jones (pictured) says despite recent announcements on job cuts, the future is promising.

“After seeing a steady pick-up in the outlook for sales, selling prices and profits from late last year, we’re now seeing employment intentions improve.

“While the official rate sits at six per cent and we’ve seen negative headline news on jobs, the outlook from businesses reveals a resilient optimism,” he says.

Employing new staff may be in preparation for increased activity, with 46 per cent of businesses expecting a higher amount of sales.

While 66 per cent of businesses expect stronger growth compared to last year.

“Last year’s soft conditions forced businesses to manage their costs closely and become more efficient in their operations.

“With confidence returning, interest rates remaining low and global conditions recovering, businesses now appear ready to focus on growth,” Jones added.

The manufacturing industry is showing strong signs of growth, with more than half of businesses surveyed expecting higher profits.

There is a similar sentiment from the finance, insurance and real estate sector, while retail has declined with slow demand and online competition impacting projected growth.

D&B economic advisor Stephen Koukoulas says the slight pull-back in profits is the only negative in the results.

“Expected sales have risen strongly since the middle of 2013 and are almost three times the 10-year average, suggesting that economic growth is poised to rise to an above trend pace when the official data for the first half of 2014 is released.

“Encouragingly, the recent gains in expected employment have consolidated at a more favourable level, and the capital investment outlook has maintained its improvement,” he says.

The positive outlook is supported by findings from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showing 47,300 jobs were added to the economy in February.

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