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5250.0 - Australian Business Expectations, Mar 1997 and Dec 1997  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/01/1998   
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  • Businesses expect to employ more with little increase in prices (Media Release)

MEDIA RELEASE

January 05, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
01/1998

Businesses expect to employ more with little increase in prices

Expectations for employment in the March quarter 1998 are 0.5 per cent higher than in the December quarter 1997, according to the latest Australian Business Expectations Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This is the first reported increase in expected employment since the December quarter 1996. Small businesses expect an increase of 0.6 per cent, and medium sized businesses expect an increase of 0.1 per cent but large businesses expect to decrease employment by 0.2 per cent.

The latest business expectations data show slight decreases in sales in the next three months, but increases of almost 3 per cent by the end of this year.

Short term expectations for the March quarter 1998 show that businesses expect a fall in sales of 0.3 per cent compared to the December quarter 1997. Small and medium sized businesses expect sales to increase by 0.1 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively while large businesses expect a fall of 1.4 per cent.

In the medium term, sales are expected to rise 2.9 per cent in the December quarter 1998 compared to the December quarter 1997.

Businesses expect profits to fall by 3.7 per cent in the March quarter 1998, reflecting the fall in sales and an increase in expenses ( +0.3 per cent).

Businesses are expecting price rises to remain at low levels, up 0.2 per cent in the short term and 0.9 per cent over the year to December 1998. This is coupled with low expectations for increases in expenses. The short term increase of 0.3 per cent is the lowest in 3 years while the medium term increase is 1.5 per cent.

At the State level, businesses are expecting to increase employment in New South Wales (1.3 per cent), Victoria (0.2 per cent) and Western Australia (0.1 per cent), while ACT businesses expect their employment to fall by 1.1 per cent.

The ABS survey provides data on short and medium term business expectations for a range of indicators including sales, selling prices, profit, capital expenditure, stocks, employment, wages, other expenses, imports and exports. These data are available by broad industry, business size and State or Territory. (All of the reported changes are in original terms, that is, they have not been adjusted for seasonal factors).

Details are in Australian Business Expectations, March Quarter 1998 and December quarter 1998 (cat. no. 5250.0) available from ABS Bookshops in all capital cities.

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