Queensland small business engine room purring along nicely

Wednesday 19 April, 2017

Small business – the engine room of the Queensland economy – is going along nicely and showing positive signs for the year ahead.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) said its latest Queensland Economic Update – a monthly snapshot of the local economy – confirms ongoing growth.

It follows the recent CCIQ-Suncorp Pulse Survey of Business Conditions, which showed small business confidence in Queensland had jumped to its highest level in three years.

CCIQ economist Steven Gosarevski said Queensland’s economy produced a mix of positive and negative results for March 2017.

“The new data from CCIQ confirms growth in certain sectors of the economy,” he said.

“Our economic update shows the state economy improved in activity with State Final Demand rising through the year to December 2016 by 0.4 per cent, supported by household consumption and government expenditure on consumption and investment.

“This modest improvement follows significant declines during 2014 and 2015 where the retreat of mining related investment significantly impacted domestic activity.”

Mr Gosarevski said Queensland’s nation-leading retail trade had expanded by 3.6 per cent in the past 12 months – out-pacing the national average for the fifth consecutive month.

 “A pick up in tourism activity and changes to trading hours’ legislation should deliver a further boost to retail sector,” he said.

“However, the poor state of the labour market is likely to weigh down on spending activity.

“CCIQ data shows that housing construction has reached the long feared tipping point. New dwelling approvals have declined by 6.8 per cent in the past three months.

“The threat of an oversupply in Brisbane inner-city apartments, as well as potential further measures to cool price growth, are weighing on the sector.

“Soft economic factors have taken their toll as Queensland shed 24,000 jobs in the past 12 months, with unemployment spiking at 6.4 per cent, up from 6.1 per cent. This alarming figure has had a ripple effect across the economy.”

Mr Gosarevski said the poor job market had affected the interstate migration patterns, with population growth now below the national average – the first time in over a decade.

“CCIQ remains optimistic as State Final Demand has risen for the first time since 2013 and indicators show improving confidence for both business and consumers despite poor jobs data,” he said.

Key Statistics from the March Queensland Economic Update

Business Conditions

•           State Final Demand positive for calendar 2016

•           Retail sales continue encouraging growth

•           Discouraged workers exiting the workforce, participation down to 64.1 per cent

Labour Force

•           6.4 per cent unemployment rate is 0.6 points higher than the national rate

•           44,000 fewer jobs compared with this time last year

•           Regional unemployment rising

Twelve-Month Outlook

•           State Final Demand to pick-up with lower dollar assisting key services industries

•           Building construction to moderate through the second half of 2017

•           Employment growth to swing back into positive territory

building approvals 


About the Queensland Economic Update:

CCIQ’s monthly report is crucial reading for the state’s 410,000 small businesses, industry groups, Government departments and politicians at all three levels. It offers an ongoing examination of key indicators, covering labour, finance, construction, retail and demographics, delivering a much-needed source of data and information for Queensland businesses.

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