Business services monitor third quarter 2012

Turnover in business services in the third quarter of 2012 was higher than a year earlier. It was the third quarter in a row in which turnover grew, but still the mood among the entrepreneurs in business services was bleak. Many were pessimistic about the fourth quarter in which they expected a worsening of the economic climate and cuts in the workforce.

Turnover up again in business services

In the third quarter of 2012 turnover in business services grew once again. The growth rate of 2.6 percent was twice as high as in the previous quarter. High growth rates were found among service providers in inspection and testing and management consultancies. Online travel agencies also performed well. Architects were under heavy pressure, seeing their turnover fall by more than 11 percent on the year before. This made architects again the worst performing sector within business services of the third quarter.

Year-on-year turnover changes

Year-on-year turnover changes

Worsening economisch climate

The Business Sentiment Survey of October 2012 shows that one in five entrepreneurs in business services felt that the economic climate had worsened in the third quarter of 2012, on balance. More entrepreneurs than in the second quarter felt that the order portfolio was too lean. Insufficient demand is seen as hindering the activities of 37 percent of the entrepreneurs. This is roughly the same number as in the second quarter.

Cuts in workforce expected

The entrepreneurs were on the whole mostly negative about the fourth quarter. On balance 20 percent expect cuts in the workforce. This was 15 percent in the second quarter. The entrepreneurs also expect to place fewer orders with suppliers themselves and forsee little change in their selling prices in the fourth quarter. They do expect the usual fourth quarter increase in turnover.

Expectations for fourth quarter 2012

Expectations for third quarter 2012

More figures on the theme page of Financial and business services.