Business confidence rises in spite of Covid-19 challenges

Business confidence rises in spite of Covid-19 challenges

Confidence levels are up for both businesses and consumers across the majority of regional South Australia despite the impacts of Covid-19.

Conducted by an independent research firm earlier this month, the BankSA State Monitor shows that statewide regional business confidence increased 2.6 points, from 109.3 to 111.9.

The West and North region, which includes the Upper Spencer Gulf and Far North, reported a small increase in business confidence - up 1.1 points from 105.2 to 106.3 - marking two consecutive improvements.

The region saw a significant increase in consumer confidence, rising 24.2 points from 76.1 to 100.3, the largest rise across any region since reporting began in 2001, rebounding from its lowest level ever reported last survey.

BankSA Chief Executive Nick Reade said results in regional South Australia indicated that businesses and consumers were more confident than their city counterparts, with COVID-19 having less of an impact and seasonal conditions having been favourable.

"There have been fewer cases of coronavirus in our regional areas and they have been able to stay largely protected through the pandemic, which has been important for consumer and business confidence," Mr Reade said.

"We've also had good early season rains, and with borders closed or restricted, South Australians are travelling within our state in greater numbers, supporting regional economies."

Businesses across all regions reported greater confidence in the climate for doing business over the next 12 months; their own business performance over the next 12 months and pride in South Australia.

However, businesses also reported negative results when asked about taking on employees over the past three months, or taking on employees in the near future and all were worried about a downturn in turnover.

The most confident industries are manufacturing, agriculture and community services, reflecting the manufacturing of personal protective equipment, good seasonal conditions in regional areas and increased need for community services - including health care.

Wholesale and retail sectors had the lowest confidence, reflecting spending restraint.