Business confidence has softened marginally in August, but firms are still upbeat about the outlook, according to a new ANZ Bank survey.
The survey found 18.3 percent of businesses are optimistic about the year ahead, down from 19.4 percent in July.
Companies remained strongly positive about their own outlook, with 38.2 percent expecting better times in the coming year, compared with 40.3 percent in the previous survey.
"We're seeing healthy readings for confidence, activity expectations, profitability, investment and employment across all sectors and regions. That's a broad-based economic expansion in operation," said ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie.
The number of firms expecting to hire extra staff fell to the lowest level of the year, which Mr Bagrie said could reflect the difficulty in finding skilled staff.
Inflation expectations eased slightly to 1.88 percent, and there was a noticeable fall in the number expecting to raise prices.
Firms in the agriculture and services sectors were the most optimistic.