NAB Survey going nowhere

The NAB Survey for February is out (didnt we just have January?) and shows a very mixed bag:

So, confidence and conditions improved a little more but remain in the doldrums. Employment remained depressed and at levels suggesting job losses. Profitability tanked but at least labour price pressures eased.

NAB itself reckons:

  • Overall business confidence was relatively firm in the month, with businesses seemingly still taking relief from the recent RBA rate cuts as well some abatement of concerns about Europe. Nonetheless, labour market conditions remain soft and the overall outlook for near-term activity remains moderate.
  • Business conditions strengthened a little in January when viewed as a whole. However, when the components of business conditions – profitability, employment and trading conditions – are analysed individually, the story appears a little different; profitability deteriorated in the month, while employment and trading conditions were unchanged (an artefact of seasonal adjustment: see page 5). Overall, this month’s activity readings were broadly unchanged from December but forward indicators improved so activity may strengthen a little. Credit demand also was particularly weak in the month – moving to new lows in the proportion of firms not wanting credit. Overall, the survey is consistent with underlying demand growth of around 3½% and GDP (ex. coal) growth of around 3¼% in early 2012.
  • Heavy falls in conditions in wholesale, transport & utilities, and construction were broadly offset by improvements in mining, manufacturing and recreation & personal services. Conditions deteriorated sharply in SA and Tasmania, but strengthened modestly in Victoria and Queensland.
  • Labour and purchase costs growth softened for a second consecutive month in January. Product prices fell slightly in the month, while retail prices fell by more, recording the weakest outcome in six months.

Nothing much here to excite anyone.

2012m01 Press Release

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. “…at least labour price pressures eased”

    Not at Holden! Just how can up to 22% pay rise without productivity improvements be justified – oh that’s right, a this is co-investment quasi government entity cocooned in the comfort of taxpayer subsidies.

    • 3d an industry that relies on Govt support to exist is no longer an industry but a welfare program or training program or some such.
      Vehicle “industry” was ever thus.
      Nothing to see here. [sigh] move on.

      • +1

        Couldnt care less if the entire vehicle industry in Australia goes the way of the Dodo.

        I will never buy another Holden, complete and utter lemons.

        And when I see all the bogans hooning around in their V8 utes I cringe and wonder why the hell I ever bought one of these overpriced flintstone wagons in the first place. 🙁

    • I’m shaking my head at this. A sensible union should have found a way to make the equation work for both sides, rather than maximising the pay rise. This is what unions in the US had to do when the Big 3 started going down the toilet in Detroit. Little wonder we have such short-termism at the government level too, if they come from this kind of background…

      • “This is what unions in the US had to do when the Big 3 started going down the toilet”

        Nope, the big 3 have suffered a plant and employment implosion and were bailed out. There has been no significant union backdown.

        The US experience was that the Auto industry split into two factions the “old” based in Detroit and the “new” in the south.

        The Southern plants are recent, part owned and heavily influenced by Japanese work practices (Toyota & Honda) and were Union clean skins.

  2. Morning, agree with most re auto industry
    My business participated in the survey with NAB as it generally does every month. The smaller end of the sme sector are struggling with the increase in red tape. Someone said we have had over 16,000 new pieces of legislation or regulations since the Dudd first came to power while 79 have been repelled (note no reference just what I read but reckon it feels about right)
    I wish I could get handouts like some other industries but alas I get more legislation that won’t actually do what they want as it will end up driving up costs to consumers ( as we deal with extra reporting to govt etc)
    My whine is over