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Welcome to our Weekly Digest – stay in the know with some recent news updates relevant to business and the economy.

Small businesses hoping for spending boost at tax time

Small businesses are hoping for a spending boost next month fuelled by tax returns starting to land in the pockets of Australians.

How to check if you’re owed a share of up to $580 million in unclaimed money

Revenue NSW has returned $21.8 million in unclaimed money, but up to $580 million is still up for grabs with people encouraged to check if they are owed cash.

Q2 growth concerns rise as consumer spending weakens

Business conditions dipped slightly below average, with declines in trading conditions and profitability, though employment improved to above average. Consumer-facing sectors such as retail and recreation & personal services saw declines, and forward orders remained negative, especially in retail, wholesale, and construction. Despite this, capacity utilization stayed above average, and cost and price growth measures increased, with retail price growth rebounding to 1.6% quarterly. This indicates that while growth has slowed, the balance between supply and demand is still off, suggesting inflation will only gradually moderate.

Business confidence falls in May

In May, business confidence decreased by 2.3 points, according to Roy Morgan, bringing the index to 97, just below the neutral level of 100. This decline follows an underwhelming federal budget, which has left businesses less optimistic about the immediate future.

Australia’s economy continues to deteriorate

This month’s national accounts release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that growth in real GDP and per capita GDP plunged to their lowest level since the early 1990s recession.

South Australian small business productivity the lowest in mainland Australia

The labour productivity of small businesses in South Australia is the lowest of all states in mainland Australia according to a new report. According to a new report from Xero, just Tasmania recorded lower productivity than SA, with the Apple Isle recording $89 of sales per hour worked, compared to SA’s $97.20 of sales per hour worked.

Why expensive energy prices threaten Australia’s economic future

How is it that Australia’s East Coast, which exports around 80% of its gas, is experiencing shortages and globally high prices? Australia is the equivalent of a Middle Eastern oil country with respect to gas. We are an energy superpower. Australians should have abundant supply and pay just above the marginal cost of supply for gas, not the world’s highest prices.

Australia’s innovation activity was spurred by COVID but has slowed down again

ABS head of business statistics Robert Ewing said nearly half of all businesses (46%) reported some innovation activity in the two years up to 30 June 2023, but that this was a marked decline compared to the last reporting period. “Businesses are now shifting their focus away from process innovation, to concentrating on their goods and services innovation,” Ewing said.

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