More than half of Australian small to medium businesses experienced no revenue growth in the 12 months to February, due to tough economic conditions and tighter household budgets.
A Servcorp survey of 464 Australian business owners and executives found no revenue growth in 56 per cent of companies, and support for the Abbott Government waning.
While almost half (45 per cent) of businesses in Servcorp’s pre-election survey said they would be better off under a Coalition government last July, only 23 per cent held that view last month.
Four in five said they had experienced “significant barriers to growth” in the past 12 months, the main challenges being difficult economic conditions (36 per cent), a reduction in consumer spending (33 per cent), and increased competition in the local market (26 per cent).
The end of the mining investment boom was felt across respondents’ businesses, with participants reporting a decline in manufacturing, mining and agriculture, and growth in healthcare, professional services and constructions.
Businesses were generally optimistic about the year ahead, with 63 per cent forecasting growth and 10 per cent forecasting “strong growth” – roughly consistent with results of Servcorp’s July 2013 survey.
According to NAB’s monthly business survey data, released yesterday, business conditions fell sharply in February, erasing half of Australia’s post-election gains.
NAB’s business confidence index has remained markedly above its business conditions index.
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