The number of small to medium Australian businesses that are”very concerned” about their survival has jumped from 33 per cent to 41 per cent in the last week. Consequently, 35 per cent of small to medium businesses have reduced their headcount, including one in five (21 per cent) slashing staff numbers by more than 50 per cent.
Despite these increasing levels of concern and job cuts, however, satisfaction with the Federal Government’s stimulus package, including the JobKeeper program, has increased to 58 per cent from 54 per cent in the last seven days.
The data comes from the latest COVID-19 SME Weekly Research Tracker, conducted by business market research firm ACA Research in partnership with TEG Insights that has been tracking the impact of COVID-19 across more than 300 SMEs each week.
“The Australian SME landscape remains in a very vulnerable state with growing concerns about business survival in the wake of COVID-19,” ACA Research Managing Director, James Organ, said. “However, business decision makers in SME’s are becoming more positive about the Government stimulus package, the actions taken to stop the spread of the virus and the ongoing communication. With payments starting to flow into SME bank accounts very soon, we will be watching these satisfaction levels with interest.”
Organ believes that the increasing positivity around government stimulus measures and the fact that the COVID-19 infection curve is flattening will see the bleak outlook improve in the coming weeks.
“We are…cautiously confident that the health and wellbeing of SME decision-makers will continue to improve,” Organ said. “This week we can report that 64 per cent are concerned about their personal health compared to 74 per cent last week.”