Manufacturing News

Industry pessimism worsens in first quarter: Westpac-ACCI survey

Manufacturing News

The Westpac-Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey of Industrial Trends shows a worsening in conditions for manufacturers in the year’s first quarter, and an outlook moving “deeper into pessimistic territory”.

A summary reads that the quarter brought a “decline in new orders, a fall in output, a reduction in overtime and a material downsize to employment.”

According to the results of the quarterly survey, released on Monday, the Actual Composite moved from a break-even result of 50.1 in the last quarter of 2023 to 43.1, suggesting a downturn in conditions.

The general business outlook for the next six months also worsened, with a net 56 per cent survey respondents expecting a deterioration versus net 41 per cent in the previous survey.

Manufacturers relied on a reduction in overtime to adjust to the soft demand environment over 2023. In the March quarter, manufacturers both reduced overtime (a net 11 per cent did so) and scaled back their workforce, with a net 27 per cent reporting a reduction in staff numbers.

The survey’s publishers expected confidence to likely remain fragile in the near-term, “given the weak demand outlook”, with policy relief potentially providing “some reprieve on this front” from mid-year.

The survey dates back to 1966, and the most recent results were based on 288 responses.

Picture: credit Australian Made/Maxitrans


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