In 2010 employment fell by 1.4 per cent compared with 2009. The fall was in line with the forecasts firms made at the beginning of the year. The largest contraction occurred in industry (2.2 per cent), while the fall in services was 0.6 per cent. The forecasts for 2011 made at the beginning of the year indicate a further contraction in employment in industry of 1 per cent.
The number of hours paid by the Wage Supplementation Fund declined from 9.2 per cent of hours actually worked in 2009 to 6.1 per cent in 2010, which was still high by historical standards.
Turnover rose by 1.1 per cent at constant prices, thanks to the increase of 3.5 per cent recorded by industry, with exporting firms performing especially strongly, while services recorded a further fall of 1.1 per cent.
The proportion of firms that made a profit rose from 53 to 57.8 per cent, while those that made a loss rose fell from 30.5 to 25.5 per cent of the total.
Gross fixed investment grew by 3.5 per cent in 2010 compared with the previous year. Industry recorded an increase of 0.7 per cent and services one of 6.8 per cent. The modest increase achieved by industry was due above all to exporting firms and small firms. Corporate plans for 2010 point to a slight decline of 0.9 per cent in investment.
The majority of firms reported an increase in their self-financing (the first time for two years), while recourse to bank borrowing expanded slightly.
More firms reported a tightening of borrowing conditions (19 per cent of all the firms surveyed) than an improvement (7.7 per cent).