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:

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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 Indicator-6.85-2.021.352.954.17

Business activity

Chart 2: Past sales growth

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

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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-44-47-29-29-29
Greater (%)2021292931
Less (%)6467585760

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:

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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 Opinion-3539485247
Greater (%)2862676866
Less (%)6324191619
Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
Indicators of Future Sales
Compared with 12 months ago, have your recent indicators (order books, advanced bookings, sales inquiries, etc.)…
Balance of Opinion-56-2214273
Deteriorated (%)705140190
Improved (%)1430416073

Chart 4: Investment in machinery and equipment

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

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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 Opinion-302264036
Higher (%)2536485952
Lower (%)5534222016

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:

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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 Opinion19-13-13-16-13
Eased (%)2329302421
Tightened (%)42161788

Chart 6: Future employment level

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

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
Future Employment Level
Over the next 12 months, your firm’s level of employment is expected to be…
Balance of Opinion2226434565
Higher (%)4039545168
Lower (%)18131163

Pressures on production capacity

Chart 7: Ability to meet demand

  Last observation:

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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)210141420
Some difficulty (% of firms)2534433241

Chart 8: Labour shortages

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

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
Labour Shortages
Does your firm face any shortages of labour that restrict your ability to meet demand?
Yes (% of firms)1325332223
Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
Intensity of Labour Shortages
Compared with 12 months ago, are labour shortages generally…
Balance of Opinion-41-19-4-130
Less intense5142322917
More intense1023282847

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:

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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?
Higher1320283649
Lower484128166
Balance of opinion *-35-2102043

Chart 10: Input price inflation

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

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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 Opinion-49244620
Increase at a greater rate (%)3439415341
Increase at a lesser rate (%)383017821

Chart 11: Output price inflation

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

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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-200154526
Increase at a greater rate (%)2830345449
Increase at a lesser rate (%)4830191023

Chart 12: Inflation expectations

Last observation:

Series2020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q12021Q2
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)11181335
Below 1 per cent (% of firms)2512720
No repsonse (% of firms)136496
1 to 2 per cent (% of firms)374460358
2 to 3 per cent (% of firms)2428214251

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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