Business Outlook Survey of Industrial and Service Firms, No. 57 - 2011Supplements to the Statistical Bulletin - Sample Surveys

Between 19 September and 21 October 2011 the branches of the Bank of Italy conducted the 19th business outlook survey, interviewing 4,078 firms with at least 20 workers, of which 2,916 industrial firms (excluding construction) and 1,162 non-financial private service firms. As in past years, the survey also covered a sample of construction firms with at least 20 workers (517).

Main results

Firms in industry (excluding construction) and services

  • firms’ investment plans continue to be dominated by caution: more than 60 per cent of respondents believed that spending in 2011 as a whole would be in line with the modest level planned at the beginning of the year
  • firms planning a lower level of investment in 2012 outnumbered those planning an increase by 10 percentage points (27 against 17 per cent)
  • firms reporting an increase in their external funding needs in the first half of 2011 (28 per cent) were more than twice as many as those reporting a decrease (12 per cent)
  • 42 per cent of firms reported an increase in turnover in the first nine months of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010, against 28 per cent that recorded a fall
  • for 2011 the balance between firms forecasting an increase in employment and those forecasting a decrease remained negative, although it was smaller (-7 against -14 percentage points)
  • compared with 2010 there was a decrease in the proportion of industrial firms applying to use Wage Supplementation in 2011 (from 29 to 22 per cent for ordinary Wage Supplementation and from 15 to 12 per cent for extraordinary Wage Supplementation)
  • the proportion of profitable firms (58 per cent) was in line with that found in 2010 (56 per cent).

Construction firms

  • about half reported a reduction in the value of production in 2011 compared with 2010 (as in the year-earlier survey)
  • the outlook for the value of production in 2012 is more favourable for firms with 200 or more workers.

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