SA busi­ness is look­ing up, and up

The Advertiser - - LETTERS -

CON­FI­DENCE can be an elu­sive con­cept mean­ing many things. But in the case of the BankSA sur­vey cov­ered to­day, it is backed by some hard and ver­i­fi­able eco­nomic facts.

The sur­vey found, for ex­am­ple, that busi­ness con­fi­dence rose to an eight-year high. More mean­ing­ful is the fact that in the past three months there has been a jump in the num­ber of busi­nesses which have hired new staff, and more who plan to bring in new peo­ple early in 2019.

The sec­ond cat­e­gory, in par­tic­u­lar, brings real hope that our econ­omy is turn­ing a cor­ner and it has reached the high­est point since 2007, be­fore the dev­as­ta­tion of the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis.

Nor is this some sort of aber­ra­tion that might re­vert to a gloomier view; the con­fi­dence in­dex rep­re­sents a sus­tained trend from last Au­gust when busi­ness con­fi­dence hit a four-year-low.

If we look at what we know is hap­pen­ing in the state, there is ev­i­dence to sup­port a turnaround in our for­tunes. The last blows from our tran­si­tion from a man­u­fac­tur­ing base have been weath­ered and with­out the dev­as­ta­tion that many feared. Thou­sands lost their jobs at Mit­subishi and Holden but our de­fence sec­tor is hold­ing its own.

Apart from the $50 bil­lion sub­ma­rine deal, there are smaller projects sup­port­ing a highly skilled en­gi­neer­ing and tech­ni­cal base. On the science re­search front, SAHMRI is about to ex­pand to SAHMRI 2 and our biotech and health sec­tor is strong.

The Mar­shall Gov­ern­ment will likely take credit for the fig­ures but com­mon sense says that forces were in train that are now bear­ing fruit. Hav­ing said that, a change of gov­ern­ment was an en­er­gis­ing fil­lip to con­fi­dence af­ter 16 years of La­bor.

We still face chal­lenges, like pop­u­la­tion growth and skill short­ages, and the po­ten­tial for in­ter­est rates to rise could throw a scare into the busi­ness sec­tor. But as Christ­mas ap­proaches and the in­evitable end-of-year reckonings be­gin, we are in as good a place as we can be and a bet­ter one that many would have dared hope.

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