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ANZ Business Micro Scope - Dec 2014 print Print

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ANZ Business Micro Scope is a quarterly report which captures the views of New Zealand businesses employing 20 or fewer staff.

Skilled staff top New Year's business wish list

The latest ANZ Business Micro Scope report shows finding skilled staff is the No 1 challenge for businesses as they gear up to ride sustained economic tailwinds to success in 2015.

Small business confidence recovered in December to its third highest level in 15 years after two successive quarterly falls, with owners citing a skills shortage as their biggest obstacle.

“Record confidence in Wellington, along with its strengths in creative and smart industries, mean it could be poised to be the ‘movie star’ economy of 2015. Rising optimism in Auckland also bodes well for the upturn. Sentiment improved across the services, construction, manufacturing and retail sectors, though falling dairy prices have had an impact on agriculture,” said Fred Ohlsson, Managing Director Retail & Business Banking.

Read the full report (pdf 152kB)

Highlights from the Dec 2014 ANZ Business Micro Scope survey of small firms:

  • Small business confidence recovered (up 4 points to +24%) after falls in the previous two quarters and is now at its third highest level in 15 years.
  • Wellington extended its lead as the most upbeat region (up 6 points to +36%, a record for any region since the data series began in 2007). Auckland (up 6 points to +24%) moved into second place while other regions have come off recent highs.
  • Services (up 8 points to +30%) remains the most upbeat sector, with sentiment at its strongest since comparable data was first collected in 2007, followed by Manufacturing (up 2 points to a new high of +25%) and Construction (also up 2 points to +25%).
  • Retail posted a strong gain (up 7 points to +19%), while falling dairy prices weighed on Agriculture, the only sector to fall (down 2 points to +5%).Lack of skilled staff (cited by one in five) overtook Regulation as the biggest problem facing small businesses. Low turnover was the third most identified challenge.
  • Those expecting interest rate rises in the coming year plummeted from +66% to +27%

Note: Net percentages reflect the balance of sentiment – i.e. positive minus negative responses.


The ANZ Business Micro Scope is a quarterly indicator which focuses on the prospects of small businesses across New Zealand. The survey was launched in March 2012 to address a lack of ongoing research specific to the small business sector. The Micro Scope covers a range of key business intentions and views on prospects for both respondents’ own businesses and the wider economy. Figures released today cover the quarter to 31 December 2014.

The survey takes in responses from 250 firms, comprising micro (up to 5 staff) and intermediate sized businesses (6 to 20 staff). The sample is taken from the ANZ Business Outlook survey, which covers micro up to large businesses. Comparisons from before March 2012 are calculated by extracting corresponding data on small businesses from that survey, which goes back to December 1999.

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