The survey was conducted in the first months of 2015 on a sample of about 4,800 industrial, construction and service firms. The main national aggregates were illustrated in the Bank of Italy’s Annual Report, published on 26 May 2015.
In 2014 the total number of hours worked started to go up again in industry compared with 2013 (0.5 per cent) while continuing its downward trend in services (-1.3 per cent). The average number of people in work in 2014 declined (–1.0 per cent) but the forecast for 2015 points towards stability.
In terms of hours worked in 2014, the number of hours paid by the Wage Supplementation Fund for industrial firms with 50 workers or more decreased slightly from 5.5 per cent of hours worked in 2013 to 3.6 in 2014.
In 2014 sales turnover in real terms in industry showed a moderate increase (0.7 per cent) while it decreased slightly in services (–0.2). The forecast for 2015 looks positive for both sectors.
The share of firms posting a profit in 2014 increased slightly compared with 2013 (from 56.2 to 61.6 per cent), while the share of firms reporting a loss declined (from 24.5 to 21.6).
Investment for industrial firms showed a slight increase in 2014 (up 0.9 per cent) after three consecutive years of decline. For firms in the service sector the annual variation is still negative (-1.6 per cent), but the fall is less pronounced than in previous years. Firms’ expectations for 2015 suggest the positive trend will continue.
Firms’ demand for bank loans remains weak, even though access to credit has eased further, largerly owing to more favourable conditions in the interest rates applied by banks. The share of firms reporting difficulties in obtaining loans from banks has gone down from 9.0 to 8.5 per cent.
In the construction sector, employment and production continued to fall, albeit less sharply than in 2013. Firms with 500 or more employees report signs of recovery for both indicators. The contraction in public works has finally come to an end.
Construction firms report a slight improvement in their access to credit compared with previous years.