A recent survey suggests labour shortages have hurt sales at 44 per cent of firms.

A survey of 200 business leaders by JPMorgan suggests an impressive level of optimism in the business sector, given that the latest inflation numbers suggest significant headwinds.

About 80 per cent of surveyed business leaders expected to increase sales in the next 12 months, while two-thirds were planning to lift capital expenditure, and 63 per cent said they were optimistic about the outlook for the national economy.

But the poll also clearly showed that labour shortages are biting hard, with 44 per cent of businesses reporting they have experienced reduced revenue as a result of the worker drought.

Still, almost 75 per cent of respondents expected to grow profits and take on additional capital in the next 12 months.

Analysts say the survey reflects an underlying resilience in the economy, but also relief among business leaders that the nation appears to have reached the other side of the COVID-19 shutdowns.