WA businesses less confident – CCI survey

LABOUR shortages, rising interest rates and higher labour and input costs have put the breaks on business confidence, with most businesses in Western Australia not expecting the current buoyant economic times to last throughout 2007. The December quarter CCI-BankWest Survey of Business Expectations indicates the three interest rate rises since May had lowered business confidence. A higher proportion of respondents also reported weaker turnover, trading conditions and profits during the December quarter compared with the September quarter. Recruitment activity was down slightly, reflecting the impact of a worsening skills shortage, with a record 73 per cent of businesses responding that labour had been scarce during the quarter. But despite these concerns, WA businesses reported positive overall current economic conditions, with 93 per cent of survey participants saying that current conditions were positive. Respondents were also asked to rate the state government’s performance in areas of importance to business, with the results revealing that for 14 of the 16 areas there had been a deterioration of the government’s rating with each survey held since Labor came to office. The worst figures were recorded for the government’s performance in taxation and reducing red tape, while education and training emerged as the third highest issue of concern. The government received an improved rating for their performance in industrial relations and small business, and an increase in ‘good’ votes for capital infrastructure performance and economic management.

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