BUSINESS confidence in WA has hit a seven-year high.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) chief economist Rick Newnham said 75 per cent of WA businesses are expecting the economy to improve or stay the same in the short term – the highest it has been in seven years.
“Most WA businesses (63 per cent) expect the WA economy to improve or stay the same in the next 12 months,” Mr Newnham said.
“This puts business confidence for the short and long-term back at mid-boom levels – the highest in over seven years.
“This is a stark difference to just under three years ago when business confidence bottomed out to the same lows experienced during the global financial crisis (GFC) – confirming that the WA economy has reached a turning point.
“This highlights that businesses are feeling more confident about the future of the WA economy, which continues to be led by the mining sector, with 83 per cent anticipating stronger economic conditions for the year ahead.
“This isn’t surprising, given $103 billion worth of resource projects are estimated to be in the pipeline.”
Things weren’t quite so optimistic in the retail sector, however, with more than 40 per cent of retailers anticipating economic conditions to worsen over the next 12 months.
“CCI has, and will continue to, urge the State Government to remove its shackles from retailers by changing the law to allow retailers to open their doors when they want to,” Mr Newnham said.
“This will bring WA in line with the rest of the country, support local businesses and job creation.”
Things were also positive signs on the jobs front.
“A third of businesses (34 per cent) increased their employment levels this quarter, while almost half (49 per cent) kept staff levels steady,” Mr Newnham said.
“These conditions are expected to continue to improve next quarter, which is an encouraging sign that slack in the labour market is tightening.” Mr Newnham said.