26/02/2021 | Rob Lucas MLC | More Jobs

SA small business confidence has risen to its highest level in 15 years, with a leading independent survey showing a significant jump in the number of businesses creating new jobs in the past three months.

The BankSA State Monitor survey of 300 small businesses and 300 consumers, conducted early this month, also found growing optimism that the climate for doing business in SA will further improve over the next 12 months (up 10 per cent).

Business confidence is now up 4.3 points to 129.9 points, with manufacturing, agriculture and community services among the most confident sectors. And consumer confidence is at a decade high, with South Australians citing the state’s response to the global pandemic as a key factor.

Treasurer Rob Lucas welcomed the positive BankSA survey results as critical for the state’s strong, ongoing economic and jobs recovery from COVID-19.

“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.

“This bodes well for the state’s strong ongoing economic and jobs recovery as we continue to roll-out our record $4 billion in economic stimulus as well as the important COVID-19 vaccination program.”

BankSA State General Manager Business Banking, David Firth said: “There is genuine optimism about our state’s outlook for the future and the economy across a range of sectors. South Australian confidence has been buoyed by our local handling of the pandemic…”

It follows similar results from a Business SA-William Buck Survey of Business Expectations released earlier this week, which shows local business confidence and conditions climbing beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, the ANZ Stateometer (Q4 2020) released yesterday, found South Australia’s economic recovery accelerated in the final quarter of last year, but remains below trend (like Victoria and Queensland).

It found that although the state’s November 3-day circuit breaker impacted retail sales, the economy “bounced-back to pre-lockdown levels immediately after restrictions eased”. SA’s housing lending accelerated in the quarter, while housing price growth (3.6 per cent) was the strongest in the nation, behind only Darwin.