Updates to this research will be published fortnightly to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Week 14 results are now available.
The latest wave of the COVID-19 SME Research Tracker published by ACA Research and TEG Insights reports the proportion of SMEs expecting revenues to return to pre-COVID levels by October has declined from 53% to 40% over the past 4 weeks. Accordingly, 81% of SMEs believe the JobKeeper program needs to be extended until 2021.
Table 1: Revenue Returning to Pre-COVID Levels
It is very concerning to report that 48% of SMEs claim they are likely to reduce employee numbers if the JobKeeper extension is not forthcoming. Weak data across hospitality, distribution, retail and services suggest a broad-based extension of the program will be required to avoid significant job losses.
Table 2: Staff Redundancies when JobKeeper Ends
Short term expectations also remain sluggish, with only 31% expecting increasing revenues over the next 4 weeks, compared to 37% two weeks earlier.
While satisfaction with the Federal Government remains steady, the proportion of SMEs who are extremely satisfied continues to decline, suggesting support is waning as the spike in new cases continues and the lack of clarity regarding future stimulus continues to increase levels of concern regarding business survival.
Table 3: Satisfaction with the Government's Response
The data reported in this wave is very weak yet again. The speed of recovery is slowing, and expectations of improving revenues is waning. Confidence is fragile as the new outbreak in VIC threatens to spread and once again have a catastrophic impact on the economy.
Concern about business survival is on the rise, as is the level of anxiety associated with the lack of clarity regarding stimulus and support beyond September. The impending Federal Government announcements later in July will be critical in providing the SME community a level of reassurance required to endure this ongoing battle for survival.
Please click on this link to access the full report including subgroup analysis by industry sector, size of business and State. ACA Research and TEG Insights will publish updates of this research to track the impact and response to COVID-19. Hopefully the results will become more positive as we work through this crisis together.