The triennial independent survey, which measures responses from 300 consumers and 300 small business owners, found consumer confidence in SA this month has risen 9.2 points to reach its highest level in more than 10 years.
Similarly, business confidence is at its highest since 2005, and there has been an 18 per cent increase in businesses that have hired new workers in the last three months. This is despite the latest national jobs figures showing SA with the highest rate of unemployment in the nation for January (7.1 per cent).
Construction, transport and regional business topped the list of SA industries creating new jobs according to the survey, while manufacturing, agriculture and community services are the most confident sectors of the state’s economy.
State Treasurer Rob Lucas said the figures bode well for his government’s $4 billion economic stimulus package.
“It’s particularly pleasing to see a significant jump in the number of small businesses that have employed staff in the past 3 months, as well as a growing sense of optimism in the overall business climate for the next year,” Lucas said.
An increase in confidence was observed in both the metropolitan and regional areas of the state, with consumer confidence growing in the regions by 10 points, and business confidence in Adelaide rising 6.4 points.
BankSA State General Manager of Business Banking David Frith said the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has also seen an increase in local pride.
“We’re seeing the successful local management of the pandemic reflected in businesses’ pride in the state, which has grown nine per cent,” Firth said.
“For consumers, state pride increased eight per cent since November and by 19 per cent compared to the same time last year – before COVID-19 impacted the state.”
The number of businesses confident the conditions for trading in SA will improve has also risen by 10 per cent, in part due to consumers signalling an intention to spend more in the coming months, according to Firth.
However, the increased period of hiring has also meant a drop in employers’ intention to take on workers over the next three months.
“There’s no doubt that there are still some sectors where the ongoing impacts from the pandemic and recovery will be longer, such as tourism, events and performing arts, requiring more targeted support,” Firth said.
“With the state’s major events season well underway, some of those sectors most affected by COVID-19 – such as performing arts, hospitality, accommodation and entertainment venues – will receive a much-needed boost over coming weeks.”
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