The latest figures on job vacancies and business confidence suggest sentiment has rebounded in Australian business circles.
Official job vacancy figures from the Bureau of Statistics show that employers want to hire more new workers, with job vacancies rising by 0.7 per cent in February, a turnaround on the previous series of declines.
While more Australians are looking for work, the result suggests job creation is heading in a positive direction.
The figures come as the latest Commonwealth Bank Future Business Index jumped to 9.3 from -0.3 in September last year.
The bi-annual survey of the views of more than 400 industry leaders found that confidence levels among mid-sized Australian businesses were climbing, and they were looking to expand by boosting spending and staffing in the next six months after sitting on their cash for the last six months.
Commonwealth Bank economist James McIntyre says the recent improvement in economic conditions in Australia and overseas boosted sentiment.
Audio: Mid-sized Australian companies spending up (The World Today)
"Whilst the world is important in terms of shaping the overall outlook, firms have, in this survey in particular, cited that why they are optimistic on their revenue outlook is because they are optimistic for domestic demand coming back," Mr McIntyre said.
"What they will be looking for from the budget, though, will be that tax cuts for this mid-market business sector; the tax cuts for company tax ... will be important for them."
Speaking at a meeting of business economists in Sydney, Treasurer Wayne Swan made it clear today that achieving a balanced budget or a surplus was going to be challenging given a decline in revenues.
But Mr McIntyre believes this is unlikely to change the outlook for business in the next six months due to compositional shifts in the economy and the absence of a consumption boom.
Of course we will all give the government credit where it is due for this won't we ?