Business Outlook Survey Data

Each quarter, the Business Outlook Survey results are based on interviews with senior management of about 100 firms. You can view the latest quarterly data and download all available data. You can also find four quarter moving average data by firm size, region and sector.

Business Outlook Survey indicator

Chart 1: Business Outlook Survey indicator

Last observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
The BOS indicator is re-estimated every quarter with the release of the Business Outlook Survey. As such, even though responses to BOS questions are never revised, the entire time series of the indicator is revised after every release.
BOS Indicator0.86-0.48-6.88-2.181.29

Business activity

Chart 2: Past sales growth

* Percentage of firms reporting faster growth minus the percentage reporting slower growthLast observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Past Sales Growth
Over the past 12 months, the rate of increase in your firm’s sales volume (compared with the previous 12 months) was…
Balance of Opinion-1-12-44-47-29
Greater (%)3630202129
Less (%)3742646758

Chart 3: Future sales growth

* Percentage of firms expecting faster growth minus the percentage expecting slower growth
† Percentage of firms reporting that indicators have improved minus the percentage reporting that indicators have deterioratedLast observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Future Sales Growth
Over the next 12 months, the rate of increase in your firm’s sales volume (compared with the past 12 months) is expected to be…
Balance of Opinion1122-353948
Greater (%)4349286267
Less (%)3227632419
Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Indicators of Future Sales
Compared with 12 months ago, have your recent indicators (order books, advanced bookings, sales inquiries, etc.)…
Balance of Opinion3316-56-221
Deteriorated (%)1725705140
Improved (%)5041143041

Chart 4: Investment in machinery and equipment

* Percentage of firms expecting higher investment minus the percentage expecting lower investmentLast observation:

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Investment in Machinery and Equipment
Over the next 12 months, your firm’s investment spending on M&E (compared with the past 12 months) is expected to be…
Balance of Opinion1112-30226
Higher (%)3538253648
Lower (%)2426553422

Chart 5: Credit conditions

* Percentage of firms reporting tightened terms and conditions minus the percentage reporting eased. For this question, the balance of opinion excludes firms that responded “not applicable.” Last observation:

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Credit Conditions
Over the past 3 months, how have the terms and conditions for obtaining financing changed (compared with the previous 3 months)?
Balance of Opinion-3-819-13-13
Eased (%)1621232930
Tightened (%)1313421617

Chart 6: Future employment level

* Percentage of firms expecting higher levels of employment minus the percentage expecting lower levels Last observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Future Employment Level
Over the next 12 months, your firm’s level of employment is expected to be…
Balance of Opinion4328222643
Higher (%)5342403954
Lower (%)1114181311

Pressures on production capacity

Chart 7: Ability to meet demand

  Last observation:

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Ability to Meet Demand
How would you rate the current ability of your firm to meet an unexpected increase in demand?
Significant difficulty (% of firms)10821014
Some difficulty (% of firms)4338253443

Chart 8: Labour shortages

* Percentage of firms reporting more intense labour shortages minus the percentage reporting less intense shortagesLast observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Labour Shortages
Does your firm face any shortages of labour that restrict your ability to meet demand?
Yes (% of firms)3128132533
Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Intensity of Labour Shortages
Compared with 12 months ago, are labour shortages generally…
Balance of Opinion2518-41-19-4
Less intense1415514232
More intense3933102328

Wages, prices and inflation

Chart 9: Wage growth

* Percentage of firms expecting higher labour cost increases minus the percentage expecting lower labour cost increases Last observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Wage Growth
Over the next 12 months, are increases in labour costs expected to be higher, lower or about the same rate as over the past 12 months?
Higher2126132028
Lower1016484128
Balance of opinion *1110-35-210

Chart 10: Input price inflation

* Percentage of firms expecting greater price increases minus the percentage expecting lesser price increases Last observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Input Price Inflation
Over the next 12 months, are prices of products/services purchased expected to increase at a greater, lesser, or the same rate as over the past year?
Balance of Opinion136-4924
Increase at a greater rate (%)3324343941
Increase at a lesser rate (%)2018383017

Chart 11: Output price inflation

* Percentage of firms expecting greater price increases minus the percentage expecting lesser price increasesLast observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Output Price Inflation
Over the next 12 months, are prices of products/services sold expected to increase at a greater, lesser, or the same rate as over the past year?
Balance of Opinion-4-6-20015
Increase at a greater rate (%)2220283034
Increase at a lesser rate (%)2626483019

Chart 12: Inflation expectations

Last observation:

Series2019Q42020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q4
Inflation Expectations
Over the next two years, what do you expect the annual rate of inflation to be, based on the consumer price index?
Above 3 per cent (% of firms)521118
Below 1 per cent (% of firms)2425127
No repsonse (% of firms)431364
1 to 2 per cent (% of firms)5953374460
2 to 3 per cent (% of firms)3038242821

Notes

For more information, see these references on the Business Outlook Survey.

Since the responses to the questions are calculated as percentages, when the sample is not exactly 100 firms, or respondents do not answer all questions, the results are rounded. Therefore, in some cases, calculating a balance of opinion using the greater and lesser categories may differ slightly from the actual balance of opinion. Also, totals may not always add to 100%.

In 1999Q2 and 2000Q2, the survey questions were asked to industry associations instead of businesses (74 associations in 1999Q2 and 66 associations in 2000Q2). See Martin and Papile (2004). In addition, the summer 2006 results for the labour shortages question presented on Chart 8 are not strictly comparable with those of other surveys, owing to a difference in the interview process for that survey.

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