Business outlook continues to improve

Media Release

Businesses have reported improved financial circumstances and reduced use of government support measures, according to results released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

ABS Head of Industry Statistics, John Shepherd, said the latest Business Conditions and Sentiments Survey showed 46 per cent of businesses expected it to be easy or very easy to meet financial commitments over the next three months, compared to 23 per cent in August.

(a) Proportions are of all businesses
(b) The sum of the component items does not equal 100% because businesses could respond "Dont know" or "Not applicable"

“This latest survey also showed the proportion of businesses reporting decreased revenue halved over the same period, falling from 41 per cent in August to 22 per cent in March,” Mr Shepherd said.

 “There was also a drop in the proportion of businesses using support measures; less than a third (29 per cent) of businesses were accessing support in March compared to almost three quarters (73 per cent) of businesses in May 2020.”

“Wage subsidies were the most common support measure accessed in March (21 per cent), with small businesses less likely than medium and large businesses to be accessing this support (20 per cent, compared to 29 per cent and 23 per cent).”

The survey also includes insights about future workforce actions businesses expect to take.

Almost one in five (19 per cent) expect staff numbers to increase over the three months. For those anticipating an increase in staff, more than half (58 per cent) expect the jobs to be permanent.

Data was collected between 10 March and 17 March. Further information is available in Business Conditions and Sentiments (Cat. No. 5676.0.55.003).

The ABS thanks all those who contributed data to this release.

Media notes

  • This publication was previously named Business Indicators, Business Impacts of COVID-19.
  • The additional ABS products published to understand the economic impact of COVID-19 can be found on a dedicated page on the ABS website.
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