Australian businesses are expecting better sales, profits, prices, investment and employment levels in the coming three months, according to a new Dun & Bradstreet survey that found sentiment at a 12-month high.
D&B’s Business Expectations Survey found 68% of businesses expecting a better year this year than 2013 and 15% planning to hire more staff, compared to only 7% looking to reduce headcount.
The finding is a slight improvement on D&B’s December survey results and brings its employment index to a three-year high, despite government forecasts of a higher unemployment rate.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of businesses plan to raise prices in the next three months, as consumer confidence – and sales figures – lift. This price inflation could prompt the Reserve Bank to lift rates above the current historic lows, D&B warned.
About 21% said that low demand for products could be hamper growth in 2014, while 13% highlighted skills shortages and a whopping 35% foresaw “no major barrier” to growth.
Today’s results come after a tough year for Australian businesses, with 38% reporting that they had customers or suppliers that were unable to pay them in 2013.
There’s more in D&B’s report.