The most optimistic was the agriculture sector, although a net 32% of firms expecting a fall in activity is still low by historical standards.
Hiring intentions also slumped, with a net 36% of firms expecting to shed jobs over the next year – again a historic low by a considerable margin. However, the early read for July shows a sharp rebound has begun.
Investment intentions fell to their lowest level ever with a net 30% of small firms expecting to reduce investment over the next year, while 58% of firms expect profits to deteriorate.
“While relatively robust export prices will be welcomed, the elevated NZD, recent drought conditions, the very weak global economic backdrop, compliance and difficulty passing on costs are all adding to the uncertainty for small firms. Although, encouragingly, July monthly data bounced back strongly, there’s still a long way to go,” Mr Kelleher said.
Regulatory requirements remain the most important problem according to small firms, but low turnover has gained a lot more attention. In line with previous surveys, competition from other businesses and finding skilled workers are also major problems.