The survey was conducted in the first few months of 2014 on a sample of about 4,800 firms operating in the industrial, construction and service sectors. The main national aggregates were illustrated in the Bank of Italy’s Annual Report, published on 30 May 2014.
In 2013 employment declined both in industry (–0.9 per cent) and in services (–1.1 per cent). Compared with 2012, the contraction was slightly smaller for industry and more marked for services.
In terms of hours worked, in 2013 the number of hours paid by the Wage Supplementation Fund for industrial firms with 50 workers or more increased slightly (from 5.3 per cent of hours worked in 2012 to 5.7 per cent in 2013).
In 2013 the fall in sales turnover in real terms in industry halted (0.4 per cent, compared with the previous –2.6 per cent), while that for services eased (–1.0 per cent against –4.1). The results were better for the more export-oriented firms. An increase in sales, which should also regard the domestic market, is expected in 2014 by both industrial firms (3.1 per cent) and services firms (1.1 per cent).
The share of firms making a profit increased slightly (from 55.4 per cent in 2012 to 56.2 per cent in 2013), while the share of firms making a loss declined (from 29.9 per cent in 2012 to 24.5 per cent in 2013). In 2013 the fall in investment stood at 3.8 per cent, less marked than the previous year (–8.7 per cent). Investment plans for 2014 indicate a further decline (–1.4 per cent), but much less marked than in previous years. The difficulty of accessing credit for industrial and service firms has diminished. In particular in 2013 the share of businesses reporting a tightening of lending conditions diminished (about one fifth of firms).
In the construction sector, employment and production (including in public works) continued to fall in 2013. Firms with 500 or more employees expected an improvement in 2014.
The indicators for construction firms’ access to credit show improvements similar to those for industrial and services firms.