Businesses look to brighter year ahead

Optimism is improving among the nation's companies, which expect the next six months will bring them plenty of success.

Readings from the December quarter 2013 ACCI – Westpac Survey are now at their highest in almost three years, as firms weigh up their future prospects.

The employment outlook has experienced modest firming, suggesting there are still plenty of firms who are likely to be using recruitment software in the near future as they take on more staff.

Peter Anderson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said results of the index were largely "welcome news", particularly as several key activity indicators have started to firm up.

"Actual demand, production, employment, capacity utilisation and overtime worked outcomes have improved. However, while positive, some forward indicators are softer than September quarter outcomes," he commented.

The ACCI is not the only group expecting the start of 2014 to offer favourable business conditions, as Dun & Bradstreet recently revealed how many companies are hoping to boost staffing levels in the near future.

The Dun & Bradstreet Employment Index has reached an 18-month high, with 10 per cent of companies polled saying they plan to take on new workers during the first three months of 2014.

During the previous quarter, this figure stood at just 4 per cent, indicating more businesses are preparing themselves for good times in the months ahead.

In fact, 70 per cent of respondents are more optimistic about the next 12 months than they were this time last year when there was widespread concern over the domestic and international economy.

Dun & Bradstreet therefore indicated unemployment may see a drastic decline over the coming months – Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for November show an unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent.

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