Updates to this research will be published monthly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. View previous wave.
The latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Research Tracker shows that the end of JobKeeper has not dampened sentiment amongst SMEs throughout Australia. Business confidence continues to grow with positive data reported across all key performance indicators including revenue, profit, employment and capital investment.
The proportion of SMEs reporting lower revenues than before the pandemic has dropped from 54% to 43% over the past month, with the average decline now 14% compared to 17% in the previous wave. Consequently, the proportion of SMEs now hiring has risen to 23%, with 42% of these filling newly created job roles.
Table 1: Decline in Revenue Due to COVID-19
Unfortunately, 40% of these SMEs are now finding it very difficult to fill job roles compared to 24% in March. Issues associated with wage demands, working hours and transient workers are all ticking up and will restrict growth if not addressed.
Table 2: Difficulty Filling Job Vacancies
Looking forward, SMEs expect local and global economies to continue to strengthen and therefore expectations regarding business investment are also positive. Intentions to invest have risen across all categories, but demand for small trucks, agricultural, construction and earthmoving equipment has spiked in April.
Table 3: Expectations Regarding Capital Expenditure (Next 3 Months)
Despite strengthening business confidence satisfaction with the federal government has reached its lowest point during the pandemic. This would indicate SMEs are dissatisfied with vaccination rollout and the potential impact on the economic recovery.
SME decision makers are definitely supportive of the vaccination with 73% likely to get the jab when available and 15% claiming they will make the vaccination compulsory for employees.
Table 4: COVID-19 Vaccination
In summary, market conditions continue to improve despite the end of JobKeeper, with positive revenue, profit, employment and capital expenditure data supporting the recovery.
However, satisfaction with Federal Government is waning as ongoing mismanagement of the vaccination rollout threatens to impact the longer term economic recovery.
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.