In 2009 employment fell by 2 per cent compared with 2008. The largest fall occurred in industry and was 2.6 per cent, while the fall in services was 1.3 per cent. The forecasts for 2010 made at the beginning of the year indicate a further contraction in employment of 1.5 per cent.
The number of hours paid by the Wage Supplementation Fund in 2009 was 10 per cent of hours actually worked for manufacturing firms with 50 or more workers, far above the previous peak of 7.9 per cent recorded in the 1993 recession.
Turnover fell by 8 per cent at constant prices, with industry recording a much larger fall than services, 11.6 against 4.6 per cent. The forecasts for 2010 point to a slight recovery in sales of 1.9 per cent.
Some 52.6 per cent of firms made a profit in 2009, compared with 59.2 per cent in 2008, while those that made a loss rose from 22.9 to 30.7 per cent of the total.
Gross fixed investment fell by 14.5 per cent compared with the previous year. The largest fall occurred in industry and amounted to 17.8 per cent, while the fall in services was 10.6 per cent. The figure for industry was due above all to exporting firms, hit by the contraction in world demand. Firms’ plans for 2010 point to an increase in investment of 3.8 per cent, due primarily to those in the service sector.
Firms’ self-financing decreased, while their recourse to external sources of funds increased.
From October 2009 onwards about 20 per cent of the firms surveyed reported a tightening of borrowing conditions, while 7.7 per cent received requests for early repayment from their lenders.