Whichever way you look at it, Australia's small business sector remains in the doldrums.
An Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) survey shows general business conditions continued to deteriorate in the June quarter, with all the main growth indicators sliding.
Sales, profitability, investment and employment indices fell to contractionary levels, while other indicators were close to, or below, levels not seen since the global financial crisis.
Small businesses are increasingly pessimistic about the strength of the economy, with the index of expected economic performance edging down to 43.1 points, from 41.6 points in the previous quarter.
ACCI director of economic and industry policy Greg Evans said the survey, released today, showed a "disturbing pattern".
"When you look at the small-business sector it's really in a hibernation or even survival mode at the moment," he told reporters in Canberra.
"Small business isn't borrowing, small business isn't investing and small business isn't employing."
Mr Evans said uncertainty about the global economy, subdued business and consumer confidence and the strength of the Australian dollar had played a part.
Small businesses were also finding it hard to pass on increased costs, he said.
The ACCI says further cuts in interest rates are needed to give small businesses a boost.
"This is one of the few policy tools left in the locker," Mr Evans said.
"We would certainly hope that further rate reductions are in the pipeline and we would hope that that would feed through to greater business and consumer confidence."