By Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia, 24 April, 2015

24 April 2015




New South Wales businesses are optimistic about the performance of the State’s economy despite a decline in individual business performance across a number of key indicators, the NSW Business Chamber’s March 2015 Business Conditions Survey shows.


“Our survey of more than 800 businesses, undertaken throughout the State Election campaign period, reveals an increase in the number of businesses reporting improved perceptions of the State’s economic performance, and this is expected to continue into the June quarter,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive, Stephen Cartwright.


“Although NSW businesses are clearly optimistic about the state’s economic performance, the number of businesses experiencing challenging operating conditions increased across a range of indicators in the first three months of 2015.


“More businesses experienced decreases in sales revenue this quarter, with the index moving well into negative levels after reaching a five-year high in December 2014.


“Compared to last quarter, more businesses reported profit falls than increases, maintaining this indicator’s position as the most negative in the survey. However, the profit index remains much higher than in 2012 and 2013 when consumer confidence was significantly lower.


“Total staff numbers decreased for the first time since June 2014, while capital spending also declined slightly after an improvement last quarter.


“In the first three months of 2015, 42% of businesses initiated some form of capital spending, up slightly from 41% in December 2014.


“Operating costs continued to increase for the third consecutive quarter and 70% of respondents indicated that lowering costs by increasing efficiency was a major priority for their business, up from 61% in December 2014.


“When asked what costs they were most focused on reducing, businesses identified labour and energy costs as their key priorities, as well as rent and raw materials.


“Consistent with the previous two quarters, 22% of businesses indicated that they had difficulty accessing suitably qualified staff, with 25% of regional business experiencing a skills shortage compared to 19% in metropolitan areas.


“Skills and professions identified as most in need this quarter included sales and marketing professionals, skilled IT workers and administration staff, while there was a notable increase in demand for technicians, drivers and customer service staff,” Mr Cartwright said.


Media Contact: Damian Kelly 0401 773 825


Damian Kelly
Senior Manager, Public Affairs, NSW Business Chamber

Source: NSW Business Chamber