According to the latest Sensis Business Index (SBI) survey, 87 percent of Australia’s small and medium businesses think the economy is either slowing (35 percent) or standing still (21 percent). Although perceptions of the economy have worsened, confidence continues to remain relatively strong.

In line with this pattern, overall confidence in the hospitality industry is up, despite a small growth lag reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The SBI survey reported that confidence in the sector continued on an upward path, rising by three points to +41, which places it above the national average.

While sales for last quarter were better than all other sectors, profitability in hospitality remains negative. Sales for this quarter look promising and profitability is expected to improve along with rising prices. Other confidence indicators, like employment, wages and prices, all recorded positive net balances.

In line with the ABS report, the SBI survey highlighted mixed results at the state level, with non-mining states and territories NSW, the ACT, Victoria and the Northern Territory all showing slight improvements, while Western Australia suffered the biggest decline with a 20 point fall in confidence. 

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