Business services monitor: first quarter of 2009

10/06/2009 09:30

Business services again realized more turnover growth in the first quarter of 2009 than in the same quarter last year. However, turnover growth was lower than in the previous quarters. Also the entrepreneurs of business services were substantially less optimistic. They have become more pessimistic in their expectations for the second quarter of 2009.

Turnover still higher

Despite the economic crisis, business services still realized nearly a 2 percent increase of turnover compared to the first quarter of 2008. However, for the third quarter in a row turnover growth was lower than in the previous quarter. Not all branches in business services realized turnover growth. For the first time since the second quarter of 2004 temp agencies saw their turnover fall. Due to the economic situation, many companies bid their temporary employees farewell. Because enterprises reduced their advertising budgets, the turnover of advertising agencies fell by almost 7 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Year-on-year turnover changes

Year-on-year turnover changes

Fewer new vacancies

Demand for new personnel in business services decreased in the first quarter of 2009. The number of new vacancies decreased by a third to 33 thousand compared to a year earlier. The biggest decline occurred in legal en economic services. Only in cleaning services did the number of new vacancies increase compared to the first quarter of 2008. In business services 45 thousand vacancies were filled in the first quarter, 5 thousand less than the year before. At the end of the first quarter of 2009, 30 thousand positions were still open. This is a decline of 43 percent compared to a year earlier.

Number of new and filled vacancies

Number of new and filled vacancies

Economic climate changes for the worse

Results from the Business Sentiment Survey of April 2009 show that entrepreneurs in business services had become substantially less optimistic. The work force has further decreased. The sentiment about the current economic climate for enterprises has worsened again during the first quarter.

Opinions on the economic climate

Opinions on the economic climate

Negative expectations

Also, entrepreneurs are pessimistic in their expectations for the second quarter of 2009. On balance, a quarter of the entrepreneurs expected a decline in turnover in the second quarter. Entrepreneurs are much more cautious about the future work force. Only 7 percent expects an expansion while 40 percent foresees a decline.

Expectations for the second quarter of 2009

Expectations for the second quarter of 2009