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:

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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-0.49-6.87-2.121.302.87

Business activity

Chart 2: Past sales growth

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

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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-12-44-47-29-29
Greater (%)3020212929
Less (%)4264675857

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:

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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 Opinion22-35394852
Greater (%)4928626768
Less (%)2763241916
Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
Indicators of Future Sales
Compared with 12 months ago, have your recent indicators (order books, advanced bookings, sales inquiries, etc.)…
Balance of Opinion16-56-22142
Deteriorated (%)2570514019
Improved (%)4114304160

Chart 4: Investment in machinery and equipment

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

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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 Opinion12-3022640
Higher (%)3825364859
Lower (%)2655342220

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:

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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-819-13-13-16
Eased (%)2123293024
Tightened (%)134216178

Chart 6: Future employment level

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

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
Future Employment Level
Over the next 12 months, your firm’s level of employment is expected to be…
Balance of Opinion2822264345
Higher (%)4240395451
Lower (%)141813116

Pressures on production capacity

Chart 7: Ability to meet demand

  Last observation:

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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)82101414
Some difficulty (% of firms)3825344332

Chart 8: Labour shortages

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

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
Labour Shortages
Does your firm face any shortages of labour that restrict your ability to meet demand?
Yes (% of firms)2813253322
Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
Intensity of Labour Shortages
Compared with 12 months ago, are labour shortages generally…
Balance of Opinion18-41-19-4-1
Less intense1551423229
More intense3310232828

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:

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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?
Higher2613202836
Lower1648412816
Balance of opinion *10-35-21020

Chart 10: Input price inflation

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

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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 Opinion6-492446
Increase at a greater rate (%)2434394153
Increase at a lesser rate (%)183830178

Chart 11: Output price inflation

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

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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-6-2001545
Increase at a greater rate (%)2028303454
Increase at a lesser rate (%)2648301910

Chart 12: Inflation expectations

Last observation:

Series2020Q12020Q22020Q32020Q42021Q1
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)2111813
Below 1 per cent (% of firms)4251272
No repsonse (% of firms)313649
1 to 2 per cent (% of firms)5337446035
2 to 3 per cent (% of firms)3824282142

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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