Confidence among Australian SMEs has dropped for the second quarter in a row, according to the latest Sensis Business Index, thanks to a drop in sales and poor profitability and employment results.
The index’s latest score fell five points to +39. The figure is calculated by comparing the number of confident SMEs to the number who are concerned about the economy, which this quarter came in at 57% and 18% respectively. The index is based on a survey of 1000 SMEs.
However, the number could have been worse had it not been for strong results from regional businesses, with confidence in regional business sitting at the highest level in seven years at, +47.
“After confidence hit the highest level in more than six years in December, we’ve seen confidence drop. We saw declines in all of the key indicators this quarter, with business owners particularly feeling the pinch on sales and employment,” Sensis executive general manager James Ciuffetelli said in a statement.
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“We saw a 20 point reversal in confidence between businesses in the capital cities and those in regional areas this quarter. This was driven by strong results among regional businesses in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.”
Australian women’s super balances lagging behind men’s
Superannuation balances have been on the up for the past nine years, but the progress of females’ balances is slow compared with Australian men, research from Roy Morgan reveals.
The average balance of a female employee intending to retire in the next 12 months is $158,000, compared to the average balance of a male employee at $260,000.
This is an improvement on the balance gap a decade ago, where female employee’s balances in 2008 were $79,000 to males’ $143,000.
“Despite real gains in employment for women, adequacy of women retirement funds remain well behind that of men,” Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research said in a statement.
“It appears some progress has been made over the last nine years but these small gains indicate it will take some considerable time and changes to superannuation conditions for females to achieve an adequate level of superannuation more equivalent to their male counterparts.”
Longer wait times in place for domestic and international flights
The threat of terror-related incidents has reportedly led to upped security measures and increased wait times at airports, meaning business owners travelling domestically and internationally will need to factor in some more time when catching a flight.
The Australian reports the check-in time for domestic flights has been upped from one hour to two, and up to three hours for international flights.
“I want to thank the travelling public for their forbearance, having to get to the airport earlier and wait longer to get through security,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement.
The measures will be in place for “as long as the threat is assessed as requiring them” Turnbull said.
Currently, airports in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane are reportedly experiencing significant delays due to the changes.