Business confidence in WA’s economic outlook is rising in leaps and bounds to mid-boom levels, according to the latest WA Super – CCI Survey of Business Confidence.
The survey, the only WA-specific index in the country, provides a snapshot of state-wide economic conditions and business expectations.
CCIWA Chief Economist Rick Newnham says 75 per cent of WA businesses were expecting the economy to improve or stay the same in teh short term – the highest rate since 2011.
The March survey results also mark four consecutive quarters of positive growth in the short-term Business Confidence Index.
“This is a stark difference to just under three years ago when business confidence bottomed out to the same lows experienced during the GFC – confirming that the WA economy has reached a turning point,” Newnham says.
WA’s economy continued to be powered by the mining sector, with $103 billion worth of resource projects estimated to be in the pipeline.
Confidence was driven by growth in profits, recovery in the labour market and optimistic business investment.
However, retail showed less optimism, with more than 40 per cent of retailers anticipating economic conditions to worsen over the coming year.
Newnham says deregulated trading hours would help, adding CCI would continue to push for the shackles to be removed to bring WA in line with the rest of the country, support local businesses and create jobs.
The WA Super – CCI Employment Index reveals that a third of WA businesses increased employment levels in the March quarter while almost half kept staffing levels steady.
“These conditions are expected to continue to improve next quarter, which is an encouraging sign that slack in the labour market is tightening,” Newnham says.
“Production continued to fluctuate in WA, with one in five businesses reducing production in the March quarter but over half expecting to increase levels in the June quarter.
“Two out of five businesses (40 per cent) did, however, identify rising operating costs as the biggest barrier in growing their business over the coming year, followed closely by weak demand (36 per cent), and foreign and online competitors (36 per cent,” Newnham says.
“For business confidence to turn into job creation, WA businesses need to feel confident that the Government wants to foster an investment climate – and the State Budget has gone a long way to achieving this.
“CCI urges the Government to continue their spending discipline and keep taxes stable, so this boost in confidence can continue.”
To ensure that CCI continues to realise its vision of making WA a world-leading place to live and do business, we seek your feedback on how our economy is tracking and the priorities you believe CCI should focus on to help your business.
► Have your say — take the WA Super – CCI Survey of Business Confidence survey now.