Three-quarters of firms now confident of prospects -- up from a third last year
ALMOST three-quarters of Irish businesses questioned for a new survey are confident about the economic prospects for the economy this year.
This is up considerably on last year's study, when just 36pc had a positive outlook, according to Grant Thornton's International Business Report (IBR).
It follows two surveys, also released yesterday, which show insolvencies in the retail and wholesale sector stabilised in 2013, and another study highlighting an improvement in sentiment.
Grant Thornton says its report, in which 150 Irish firms were questioned, suggests there has been a shift in the level of confidence among businesses in the last 12 months.
"Companies look set to grow revenue, profits and employment in 2014 ahead of other European economies, a testament that the difficult decisions companies have made to recalibrate their businesses are now bearing fruit," said Grant Thornton partner Patrick Burke.
IBR is a survey of both listed and privately held businesses.
The data is drawn from interviews with 3,200 businesses from all industry sectors across the globe conducted in November/December 2013. Key findings from the survey include:
* Some 66pc of Irish businesses expect profits to grow in 2014, against an EU average of 45pc, and a global average of 53pc.
* Some 40pc of Irish businesses expect to increase employment in 2014, with a further 58pc expecting employment levels to stay the same. This gives Ireland the second most positive employment outlook in Europe after the UK.
Meanwhile, a separate study released yesterday also shows that 202 retail and wholesales businesses were declared insolvent last year, an 11pc decrease on 2012, according to the data from Vision-net.
The data also revealed that the number of business start-ups in the retail and wholesale sector increased in 2013 by 6.6pc to 1,776.
Separate research released by the Small Firms Association showed 29pc of companies questioned were more confident about their businesses than in the previous three-month period.