A survey by Dun and Bradstreet has found what we already know – the budget has failed to improve business confidence.

Sales, profits, employment and investment all dropped sharply in the early months of 2015. A series of interest rate cuts have failed to stimulate the economy. And economic conditions are no longer expected to improve before the end of the year.

The business expectations index, measured by Dun and Bradstreet, showed a drop of 7.3 points for the September quarter – down from 20.7 to 13.4. And down 6.1 points from the same time last year (19.5).

Close to 25 per cent of those businesses surveyed cited the biggest barrier to business growth was poor consumer demand. Fully 40 per cent believed consumer confidence to be the reason for the low demand.

As sales have fallen so have employment figures..

Stephen Koukoulas, an economic adviser to Dun and Bradstreet said, “The severe slumps in expected sales and employment are particularly worrying for the business outlook, while the actual performance of the economy has also undershot prior expectations.

“Businesses that reported relatively optimistic conditions early in 2015 are now facing the reality of an underperforming economy and their responses to this survey suggest there is some risk that the unemployment rate will rise further during the second half of 2015.”

The federal budget included a cut in the corporate tax rate for businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million, and an instant tax write-off for asset purchases up to $29,000.

Despite these incentives businesses are turtling against what they believe will be a protracted downturn.

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