Turnover in business services was higher in the third quarter of 2011 than in the corresponding quarter of 2010. However, the turnover growth rate was not as strong as in the previous two quarters of 2011. Also, turnover varied widely between the various sectors within the business services. The Business Sentiment Survey of October shows that business services providers felt the deterioration in economic climate of 2011 in the third quarter, just as they did in previous quarter. Nevertheless, their expectations for turnover in the fourth quarter are favourable. This does not apply to employment.
Rise and fall in business services
In the third quarter, business services managed to produce a modest growth in turnover. For the fifth consecutive quarter, turnover increased on the previous year. However, the increase was down 0.3 percent on the previous two quarters. And not all business services saw their turnover grow. Several branches including legal and economic services, architects, engineers and advertising agencies saw a decline compared to the third quarter of 2010. Architects were hardest hit whereas travel agencies produced the largest turnover increase.
Year-on-year turnover changes
Deterioration of the economic climate
Business service providers saw the economic climate deteriorate in the third quarter. It is the second downturn in a row according to the entrepreneurs. Opinions on the economic climate in business services have been far less favourable in recent quarters than in the preceding period, when most companies still gave out positive signals.
Opinions about the economic climate
More turnover, fewer employees
The business service providers are expecting a turnover increase in the fourth quarter. On balance one of the three companies foresees more turnover at steady prices, whilee 7 percent of the entrepreneurs reckon with declining employment in their branch.
Expectations for the fourth quarter of 2011