Updates to this research will be published fortnightly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. View previous wave.
The latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Research Tracker shows that optimism amongst SMEs continues to grow, with 44% expecting revenues to return to pre COVID-19 levels by the end of 2020. This is an increase of 10%, from 34% since the end of August. In line with rising revenues, the proportion of SMEs receiving JobKeeper has fallen to 37% from 47% a month earlier.
Table 1: Revenue Returning to Pre-COVID Levels
It is also noteworthy that 28% of those currently receiving JobKeeper, claim they will not be eligible for payments moving forward and hence the cost burden for the Government should reduce significantly.
Table 2: JobKeeper Extension
There are also some initial signs of improvement in employment opportunities with 12% of SMEs currently hiring staff for both new and replacement roles. Larger SMEs, particularly in the retail sector are leading the way in preparation for the busy Christmas period.
Table 3: Job Roles
While expectations regarding the long-term impact on both the global and Australian economies remain weak, SMEs are more confident that both wage increases, and business spending will rebound faster than indicated in previous waves of the research.
Table 4: Impact of COVID-19
Satisfaction with the Federal Government’s response to the pandemic has rebounded slightly from 55% to 59% this wave. However, satisfaction with State Governments in VIC, QLD and SA continue to decline as ongoing restrictions and border closures persist.
Confidence amongst SMEs is growing across the country, with rising revenues and profits reported in September. This trend is predicted to continue as the number of cases drop and borders reopen.
This data is very positive bearing in mind the reduction in JobKeeper payments and the conclusion of other stimulus and support measures. It is now very important that any new COVID-19 outbreaks are contained to ensure SMEs have a clear pathway to recovery that will support job growth and business investment.
Please click on this link to access the full report including subgroup analysis by industry sector, size of business and State. Fifth Quadrant and TEG Insights will publish updates of this research to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Hopefully the results will become more positive as we work through this crisis together.