Business services monitor: fourth quarter of 2009

09/03/2010 15:00

Turnover in the business services sector was down again in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared with twelve months previously. The fall was also larger than in the preceding quarter. Although opinions of business services providers about the current economic climate have become less negative, they do expect a further reduction of the workforce in the first quarter of 2010.

Business services more in the red

Turnover of business services was 7.5 percent lower in the fourth quarter of 2009 than one year earlier. Most branches in business services experienced a further decrease in turnover. Architects faced the largest decrease: compared with the fourth quarter of 2008, their turnover was 18.5 percent lower. For 2009 as a whole, business services experienced a decrease of well over 4 percent. Advertising agencies, architects and temp agencies suffered the largest decreases.

Year-on-year turnover changes

Year-on-year turnover changes

Number of vacancies down

There were 31 thousand new vacancies in business services in the fourth quarter. Because of the economic downturn there were far fewer new vacancies  than twelve months previously, when they still numbered 39 thousand. At the close of the fourth quarter 22,500 jobs were vacant, over 40 percent down on a year earlier. The largest decrease was in computer services, where the number of vacancies was half as high as one year previously.

Number of new and filled vacancies

Number of new and filled vacancies

Opinions slightly less negative

Results from the Business Sentiment Survey January 2010 show that although companies providing business services are still negative about the current economic climate, they are clearly less negative than in the preceding quarters. The net number of companies with a negative opinion (12 percent) is the smallest since September 2008. The opinion about the current economic climate reached its low point at the beginning of 2009, and subsequently started to climb again.

Opinions on the economic climate

Opinions on the economic climate

Turnover and prices expected to rise

For the first quarter of 2010, companies in the business services sector expect to realise more turnover than in the previous quarter. They also foresee a rise in prices, and a further reduction in the workforce.

Expectations for the first quarter of 2010

Expectations for the first quarter of 2010