Business confidence in NSW is improving in the first clear signs of recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a quarterly survey.
Perceptions about the performance of the state economy improved strongly from a record low recorded in the last quarter, the Business NSW survey for the third quarter released on Oct. 27 said.
"The outlook has also improved, with businesses expecting further lifts in the economy for the remainder of 2020," Business NSW Chief Executive Nola Watson said.
"The strong bounce in business confidence is a welcome boost and gives a big tick to government decisions that have backed a business-led recovery."
This should give the state and federal governments confidence their policy responses—such as providing support to make it easier for employers to protect jobs and easing restrictions on trading—are working.
"However, while fewer businesses are scaling back their capital spending and staffing levels, fewer businesses are in a position to expand," Watson said.
Business NSW renewed its call for the NSW government to announce a payroll tax rebate in next month's budget.
The survey noted the businesses most affected by COVID-19 were business services, hospitality and tourism.
Businesses in the Sydney CBD were among the most vulnerable as they relied heavily on international visitors.
Border closures had affected businesses in the Murray Riverina and New England northwest regions were also among the weakest performing parts of the state.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will hand down the budget on Nov. 17.