Turnover of companies in the business services sector was higher in the second quarter of 2012 than in the same quarter last year. The sector also performed better than in the first quarter this year, when turnover remained almost unchanged compared to the first quarter of 2011. The sentiment among providers of business services deteriorated in the second quarter of 2012. They perceived a downswing in the economic climate and their expectations for the third quarter are also sombre. They forsee turnover and prices to remain at the same level and a decrease in employment.
Higher turnover for business services providers
The turnover of business services providers was 1.3 percent higher in the second quarter of 2012 than in the same quarter last year. This brings turnover growth in the first half of this year to 0.7 percent. Not all branches of business services realised a higher turnover in the second quarter. Architects again realised the poorest results. Their turnover was on average 10 percent lower in the first two quarters than in the same period last year. Travel agencies and tour operators, and services connected with inspection and testing on the other hand had the best business results. Their turnover rose by 9.4 and 5.9 percent respectively in the first half of 2012.
Year-on-year turnover changes
Negative opinions on economic climate
The Business Sentiment Survey of July 2012 shows that a net 18 percent of providers of business services thought that the economic climate had worsened further in the second quarter of 2012. In the first quarter, the percentage with this opinion was about the same: 20 percent. For the third quarter, too, net expectations are negative: 17 percent of business services providers expect a deterioration, 6 percent an improvement and most do not expect the current economic climate to change.
Negative employment prospects
On balance, 15 percent of companies in the business services sector expect employment to decrease in the third quarter. In the previous quarter this was still less than 4 percent. Companies expect no changes - or only very small ones - in turnover and prices in the third quarter. The number of optimists is around the same as the number of pessimists in this respect.
Expectations for third quarter 2012