SA business is looking up, and up
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.