Monday 19 August 2019

More than half of businesses in growth mode

A mixed bag of economic data for Michael Noonan this month
A mixed bag of economic data for Michael Noonan this month

Sarah McCabe

For the first time since 2010, more than half of businesses are in growth mode.

In a quarterly survey of 350 businesses by accounting firm BDO, more than half said business activity grew between the beginning of July and the end of September.

It is the first time the 50pc barrier has been broken since the survey began five years ago.

About 52pc said business activity grew over the four-month period by comparison to the same period last year.

Just 28pc reported growth during the same quarter in 2011.

"That is the first time we have seen this since our survey began five years ago," said BDO managing partner Michael Costello.

"Those surveyed believe growth trends are set to continue."

Profit growth among respondents was strong with 17pc more reporting year-on-year growth compared to companies who reported declines.

In terms of employment, six out of 10 larger companies increased their numbers in the last 12 months. But this was biased towards Dublin.

On the pricing side, price rises outstripped price cuts for the first time in five years.

Bigger businesses are benefiting more than small businesses from the uptick in the economy, the research found.

Larger companies are far more ­optimistic than micro enterprises in every aspect ­surveyed, the survey said. Seven out of 10 expect growth in the final quarter of the year whereas only 48pc of ­companies with between one and three employees expect growth during the same period, rising to 53pc among companies with between four and nine employees.

The survey results add to a mixed bag of economic data released this month.

The unemployment rate dipped below 9pc last month for the first time since late 2008, the Central Statistics Office said early in November.

The jobless rate was 8.9pc in October, and was 9.1pc for the months of July to September inclusive.

The latest official retail sales data from the Central Statistics Office, meanwhile, was weaker than expected.

Headline sales were down 0.8pc in the month in October, but were 6.9 pc higher in the year in volume terms.

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