Regional business Confidence surges in December quarter

Business confidence surged in the Murray-Riverina in the final quarter of 2015 as the number of businesses reporting increased sales revenue grew significantly, the NSW Business Chamber’s latest Business Conditions Survey shows.

“More than 160 businesses took part in our survey, which showed regional business perceptions of the State’s economic performance at its highest level since July 2009 amid improvements in profit and particularly sales revenue,” said NSW Business Chamber Murray-Riverina Regional Manager, Ben Foley.

“Consumer confidence appears to be improving with 48% of Murray-Riverina businesses reporting a positive change in customer demand in the past three months, up from 26% in September 2015.

“Importantly, the survey suggests that the growth in business and consumer confidence is translating into jobs growth and increased capital spending.

“19% of Murray-Riverina businesses reported that they increased staff numbers in the final quarter of 2015, up from 16% in September 2015, while 22% of survey respondents said they expected to hire additional staff in coming months.

“28% of local businesses increased capital spending in December 2015, up from 25% in the previous quarter, while one in three businesses expect to increase capital spending in the March quarter.

“It’s great to see our regional business community being very optimistic about the year ahead with 40% of respondents expecting the NSW economy to strengthen in coming months; confidence no doubt bolstered by the material improvements in business performance recorded in the final quarter of 2015.

“The survey showed a sharp uptick in the profits and sales revenue indices for the December quarter, with 36% of businesses reporting an increase in sales revenue and 32% reporting an increase in profits.

“Many businesses also predicted a bumper start to 2016 with 42% of respondents expecting sales revenue to increase, though this is slightly lower than the state-wide average of 45%.

“Addressing business inefficiencies and improving productivity looks to be the key focus for Murray-Riverina businesses as we head into the New Year, with 57% of respondents identifying this as a key priority, followed by reducing operating costs, wastage and energy costs.

“Overall the news for business in the Murray-Riverina is positive but it cannot be assumed that the good times will last forever. Ensuring a competitive and efficient tax system, reducing red tape and reforming workplace relations are no less important now than they were in past quarters,” Mr Foley said.

Media Contact: Ben Foley 0418 211 126