Small business confidence on the rise

Optimism amongst SMEs continues to grow, with 44 per cent expressing confidence that revenues to return to pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of 2020, according to the latest COVID-19 SME Tracker conducted by business market research firm ACA Research in partnership with TEG Insights.

The latest findings reveal that the level of optimism has increased 10 per cent since the end of August. The proportion of SMEs receiving JobKeeper fell to 37 per cent from 47 per cent a month earlier, while 28 per cent of those currently receiving JobKeeper claim they will not be eligible for payments moving forward.

With regards to employment, 12 per cent of SMEs are now hiring staff for both new and replacement roles, signifying improvements, while larger SMEs, particularly in the retail sector are leading the preparations for the busy Christmas period.

While expectations regarding the long-term impact on both the global and Australian economies remain weak, SMEs are more confident that both wage increases and business spending will rebound faster than expected.

Satisfaction with the Federal Government’s response to the pandemic has also slightly increased from 55 per cent to 59 per cent this wave. However, satisfaction with State Governments in VIC, QLD and SA continue to decline as ongoing restrictions and border closures persist in those states.

“Confidence amongst SMEs is growing across the country, with rising revenues and profits reported in September,” ACA Research, Managing Director, James Organ, said. “This trend is predicted to continue as the number of cases drop and borders reopen.

“This data is very positive bearing in mind the reduction in JobKeeper payments and the conclusion of other stimulus and support measures,” Organ added. “It is now very important that any new COVID-19 outbreaks are contained to ensure SMEs have a clear pathway to recovery that will support job growth and business investment.”

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