Positive signals for economy

WIDE Bay small businesses are more optimistic about their economic growth, according to a study from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland.

The Westpac Group-CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions for the September quarter showed encouraging signs for the region.

CCIQ senior policy advisor of advocacy Kate Whittle said business performance for the Wide Bay economy had been strong with the highest profitability score across all of rural and regional Queensland.

"CCIQ has responded to small businesses and for the first time we have a clear record of business performance in the Wide Bay area from a Pulse survey," Ms Whittle said.

"We will now be able to provide a local pulse of issues that affect businesses on the ground and keep government to account."

More than 750 small businesses across the state were polled.

Previously Wide Bay businesses were included in the Sunshine Coast figures.

"Wide Bay businesses have responded positively to the change of federal leadership with Malcolm Turnbull

taking over from Tony Abbott in early September," Ms Whittle said.

"Confidence in the

Queensland economy has moderated, but remains at a fragile level," she said.

"It has consolidated

despite the continued

resource downturn and drought weighing on business minds.

"State Government debt

levels, rising business costs and stalled spending on infrastructure continue to feature as a concern for business.

"Businesses have reported lower profitability, in part

because of persistently high labour costs, greater competition and slower

revenue growth."

Business performance overall was mixed, with conditions rising marginally over the September quarter.

"Interestingly, businesses continue to appear more willing to seek new sources of revenue and reposition their businesses in response to changing trading conditions," Ms Whittle said.

"There is optimism for the December quarter with forecast improvements across all key performance indicators, including stronger profit growth and continued moderation of labour costs," she said.

"Confidence for the December quarter is encouraging, with momentum building with the lead-up to the peak retail and tourism seasons."

The data shows a turn-around in sentiment from the March quarter, soon after the State Election, when business confidence in Queensland was at a record low.

The situation had improved slightly by the June quarter. - APN NEWSDESK

Key survey findings

Confidence in the Wide Bay area was strong (45.7), Queensland economy was steady (42.1) whereas the Australian economy (50.7) has improved and is now in positive territory.

General business conditions lifted to 49.0 in the September quarter above the State average of 41.9.

Sales and revenue maintained positive territory (56.6) with expectations end of year retail trade boosting the upcoming December quarter.

Profitability rose to 47.2 in the September quarter.

Employment levels consolidated (49.6).

Labour costs remain persistently high at 56.8.

Capital expenditure was in neutral territory (50.0).

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