Businesses Moving to Challenging Times
24th February 2017
InterTradeIreland Business Monitor reveals businesses are moving into challenging times:
Companies reporting stability or growth remain fairly constant at 84%
37% of construction businesses reporting difficulties in recruiting skilled staff
With a third of firms running at break-even and 78% already running close to or at capacity, there is a vulnerable tier of the economy that could be exposed to inflationary pressures.
The latest quarterly (September – December 2016) InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Report issued recently shows businesses are moving into challenging times from a position of relative strength. Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director at InterTradeIreland, said: “We are seeing a resilient, sustained recovery and notable symmetry in challenges faced by firms both North and South. The number of companies across the island reporting stability or growth in the last quarter has remained fairly constant at 84%; however exporters continue to fare better than non-exporters with 51% experiencing growth compared to 36% respectively.
Further signs of economic buoyancy are evident in the employment figures reported in the survey, which show a large increase in the number of firms in Ireland reporting an upsurge in employment levels (14%) – the highest number in recent years, with larger firms experiencing a higher rate of growth at 54%.
“The Business Monitor results also reveal that companies across the island are experiencing similar challenges, although many are showing signs of a healthy economy and include increased competition, discounting by competitors and difficulties in finding skilled labour as companies grow. However the greatest challenge facing businesses is rising costs, particularly energy costs.
“With almost a third of firms reporting that they are running at break-even and 78% already running close to or at capacity, there is a vulnerable tier of the economy that could be exposed to inflationary pressures. Nevertheless, the overall message is that of a robust economy, with companies going into potentially challenging times from a position of relative strength,” Aidan added.
Other key insights revealed by the Q4 2016 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor include:
98% of companies have no plan in place to deal with the consequences of Brexit
51% of businesses in cross-border sales are concerned about currency/exchange rates
More than a quarter of growing businesses (28%) have indicated they are experiencing difficulties recruiting appropriate skills for their businesses
45% of all businesses surveyed noted rising energy costs as a current issue for their business
49% of businesses surveyed noted rising overheads (apart from energy) as a current concern
A copy of the 2016 Q4 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Executive Summary can be viewed here http://www.intertradeireland.com/researchandpublications/business_monitor/