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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

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-0.98-2.26-3.46-3.09-2.42

Business activity

Chart 2: Past sales declines

Last observation:

Past Sales Declines
Did the overall level of your sales volume decline over the past 12 months, compared with the previous 12 months?
Yes (%)16.0023.0032.0039.0024.00

Chart 3: Future sales growth

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-18-614201
Greater (%)3035425033
Less (%)4841283032
Indicators of Future Sales
Compared with 12 months ago, have your recent indicators (order books, advanced bookings, sales inquiries, etc.)…
Balance of Opinion1080-104
Deteriorated (%)3236374334
Improved (%)4244373338

Chart 4: Investment in machinery and equipment

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 Opinion19147220
Higher (%)4040384133
Lower (%)2126311933

Chart 5: Objectives of investment spending

Objectives of investment spending
What is the primary objective for your firm’s investment spending? (Multiple response options, share of firms)
Improve productivity35.
Increase Output58.
Replace or repair machinery or equipment56.

Chart 6: Credit conditions

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 Opinion103026294
Eased (%)16104615
Tightened (%)2640313519

Chart 7: Future employment level

Future Employment Level
Over the next 12 months, your firm’s level of employment is expected to be…
Balance of Opinion4534272132
Higher (%)5448393743
Lower (%)914121611

Pressures on production capacity

Chart 8: Ability to meet demand

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)8117156
Some difficulty (% of firms)5136393047

Chart 9: Labour shortages

Labour Shortages
Does your firm face any shortages of labour that restrict your ability to meet demand?
Yes (% of firms)3130322722
Intensity of Labour Shortages
Compared with 12 months ago, are labour shortages generally…
Balance of Opinion-30-23-46-44-39
Less intense4742535652
More intense181981113

Wages, prices and inflation

Chart 10: Wage growth

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?
Balance of opinion *22-19-50-22-18

Chart 11: Input price inflation

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-49-53-63-57-48
Increase at a greater rate (%)171591111
Increase at a lesser rate (%)6668726860

Chart 12: Output price inflation

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-26-33-43-21-18
Increase at a greater rate (%)2519142226
Increase at a lesser rate (%)5152564344

Chart 13: Inflation expectations

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)7964535440
Below 1 per cent (% of firms)00000
No response (% of firms)34443
1 to 2 per cent (% of firms)12433
2 to 3 per cent (% of firms)1730393954


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.

In 2022Q4, the survey results for the core charts were recalculated over their history to account for two main changes. To better reflect results of informed responses, we have removed responses coded as “no response” (e.g., firms either responded that the question was not applicable, or they didn’t answer). Previous calculations would have treated firms without a response as reporting “no change”. Also, we have corrected some technical errors from early in the data history. In both cases, the changes are mostly negligible. The changes are reflected in all HTML pages in the past and going forward (past PDFs will not be adjusted).

Our Valet API is designed to help you integrate your applications and processes with our data. For details, please see our documentation.

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