Transport industry confidence dives

After positive results in the previous quarter, confidence has almost halved in September


Confidence among small and medium transport and storage businesses took a dive during the September quarter according to the Sensis Business Index September 2016.

In stark contrast to the June quarter, where transport and storage industry confidence matched the high achieved by the national average, the September quarter numbers decreased significantly to be the second worst of all the industry sectors.

Dropping 16 points to a net balance of 18, the drop in confidence over the quarter saw 29 per cent of the 50 transport and storage businesses questioned described themselves as worried. Less than half are confident.

The numbers across all industries saw 57 per cent confident and 19 per cent worried.

The reading isn’t great across the board for sector, with decreases in all areas but prices.

"Net balances were negative for profitability (-21), employment (-6), sales (-5) and wages (-2)," the index says. "Only prices was positive (+10)."

"The sales and the profitability results were among the weakest across the sectors."

The causes of the issues were also varied.

"Competitive pressures, unfavourable government policy and decreasing sales characterise the worried SMBs," the report says.

"Having an established, solid business was the leading driver of confidence."

However it isn’t all bad news, according to the index, which says while "there was a sharp drop in confidence… expectations remain fairly positive."

"Expectations are buoyant with positive net balances for the five key performance indicators – sales (+25), prices (+17), profitability (+8), employment (+8) and wages (+5)," it says.


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In terms of a national outlook, Sensis CEO John Allan had a good tale to tell.

"The national figures tell a positive story overall, but belie the turmoil some locations are experiencing with Western Australia (+10) and the Northern Territory (+9) languishing well below the national average," he says.

"Tasmania recorded the most improved score with a 22 point jump thanks to improved business conditions, while Victoria suffered a drop of 15 points to sit below the national average with declining sales and increased cost pressures impacting business confidence.

"Overall, the businesses feeling positive had strong beliefs in their own business strengths and identified with being an established, solid business while those who are worried cited decreasing sales and an unfavourable business, economic or industrial environment.

"It is pleasing to see sales and profitability performances improve this quarter; the sales result (+5) is particularly encouraging as it is the first time since March 2008 that we have seen consecutive positive quarters."

When it came to government confidence, South Australian remains at the bottom of the list.

Declines were seen in Victoria and New South Wales and positive results were seen with the ACT, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.


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