Insee conjoncture

In October 2017, the business climate weakens slightly in servicesMonthly survey of services - October 2017

According to business managers surveyed in October 2017, the business climate in services has declined slightly. The composite indicator which measures it has lost one point (107). However, it stands clearly above its long-term average (100).

Informations rapides N° 277
No 277
Principaux indicateurs
Paru le : 24/10/2017
Prochaine parution le : 23/08/2018 at 08:45 - August 2018

According to business managers surveyed in October 2017, the business climate in services has declined slightly. The composite indicator which measures it has lost one point (107). However, it stands clearly above its long-term average (100).

Graph 1 – Business climate composite indicator

The turning point indicator remains in the area indicating a favourable short-term economic situation.

Graph 2 – Turning point indicator

  • Note: close to 1 (respectively -1), this indicator indicates a favourable short-term economic situation (respectively unfavourable). The uncertainty area is between -0.3 and +0.3.

Business prospects have faltered slightly but employment balances have improved

The balances on past and expected activity, general outlook and expected demand have declined a little in October. However, all of these balances of opinion stand significantly above their long-term average .

The balances on employment, also well above their long-term average, have gone up in October, mainly because of services excluding temporary employment. Meanwhile, the balance on difficulties in recruitment has reached its highest level since October 2008.

The balance on the past operating result has climbed and stands clearly above its long-term average whereas the one on the expected operating result has moved just below its average.

The balances on selling prices (past and expected) have decreased and moved also below their average.

Table 1 – Economic outlook in the services sector

Balances of opinion, in %, seasonally adjusted
Economic outlook in the services sector
Average* July 17 Aug. 17 Sept. 17 Oct. 17
Composite indicator 100 104 107 108 107
General outlook –8 2 3 3 2
Past activity 2 3 7 9 8
Expected activity 2 4 7 8 7
Expected demand –1 0 5 6 5
Past selling prices –4 –10 –9 –4 –5
Expected selling prices –3 –7 –6 –1 –4
Past employment 3 12 7 8 10
except temporary work agencies 1 5 3 2 4
Expected employment 2 6 6 8 9
except temporary work agencies –1 2 1 4 6
Investments
Past investments 2 4 5 4 6
Expected investments 1 4 6 6 4
Operating balance result
Past result –2 0 4
Expected result –2 –2 –3
Cash position –11 –9 –8
Difficulties of supply and demand
difficulties of supply and demand 10 8 9
difficulties of supply only 22 29 30
difficulties of demand only 32 26 26
Difficulties in recruitment 28 31 35
  • * Average since 1989 for the composite indicator and since 1988 for the balances of opinion
  • Source: Insee, monthly business survey in services

The business climate indicator exceeds above its long-term average in all sub-sectors except in real estate activities. It is particularly favourable in road transport, accommodation and food services, administrative and support services and in professional, scientific and technical activities. In information and communication, the business climate has declined slightly.

The business climate is at its highest level since August 2007 in road transport

In road transport, the business climate has gained four points (114). Already well above its average, it has reached its highest level since August 2007, in particular due to a strong increase in the balances on expected demand, activity and employment.

The business climate is stable in accommodation and food service activities

In accommodation and food service activities, the business climate is steady (110), clearly above its long-term average. The rise in the balances of opinion on past activity and expected employment has offset the decrease in expected demand and general outlook. However, all balances remain above their average level.

In information and communication, the business climate has weakened slightly

In information and communication, the climate has lost one point (104) due to a decline in the balances on expected activity, employement and demand. However, the balance on past employment has increased.

The real estate business climate has worsened markedly

In real estate activities, the business climate has lost six points (99) and moved below its long-term average (100), due to a fall in the balance of opinion on general outlook, at its lowest level since July 2013.

The business climate is stable in professional, scientific and technical activities

In professional, scientific and technical activities, the business climate remains steady at 108. The balances on expected demand and past activity have decreased. In contrast, the balances on expected activity, general outlook and employment have increased and stand well above their average.

In administrative and support service activities, the business climate has improved again

In administrative and support service activities, the business climate has gained three points (110) and peaked at its highest level since May 2011. The balance on expected activity has accelerated markedly and reached a level unseen since June 2007.

Table 2 – Business climate composite indicator and balances of opinion by sub-sector in services

Balances of opinion, in %, seasonally adjusted
Business climate composite indicator and balances of opinion by sub-sector in services
Aggregated classification (NA 2008) at level A21 Mean* July 17 Aug. 17 Sept. 17 Oct. 17
Road transport (8%)
Composite indicator 100 108 110 110 114
Past activity –7 13 7 7 8
Expected activity –8 0 2 6 9
Expected demand –11 1 6 4 15
Past employment –6 11 9 5 9
Expected employment –9 3 3 6 14
General outlook –22 4 5 1 4
Accommodation and food service activities (11%)
Composite indicator 100 100 107 110 110
Past activity –7 –14 –1 1 6
Expected activity –7 –2 2 –1 1
Expected demand –10 –11 –6 4 1
Past employment –4 –9 0 –5 –3
Expected employment –6 –8 –8 –9 –4
General outlook –14 –13 –5 –2 –4
Information and communication (24%)
Composite indicator 100 100 105 105 104
Past activity 8 –8 12 18 16
Expected activity 9 9 16 15 9
Expected demand 10 –1 17 8 2
Past employment 6 15 15 5 9
Expected employment 11 13 17 20 18
General outlook 0 4 4 3 3
Real estate activities (13%)
Composite indicator 100 109 103 105 99
Past activity 7 18 9 11 7
Expected activity 8 13 9 13 7
Expected demand 1 6 6 4 7
Past employment 3 10 4 –3 4
Expected employment 2 0 1 6 7
General outlook –2 8 2 5 –12
Professional, scientific and technical activities (24%)
Composite indicator 100 106 106 108 108
Past activity –1 5 4 5 0
Expected activity –2 2 6 3 5
Expected demand –6 –1 0 3 1
Past employment 1 6 –1 2 3
Expected employment 0 5 9 11 12
General outlook –9 –2 –3 0 2
Administrative and support service activities (18%)
Composite indicator 100 103 105 107 110
Past activity 6 10 12 11 9
Expected activity 5 1 4 8 17
Expected demand 3 2 4 10 13
Past employment 9 26 13 19 20
Expected employment 8 11 9 14 11
General outlook –4 6 10 9 12
  • The figures in parentheses indicate the weights used to aggregate the sub-sector balances of opinion.
  • *Composite indicators: average since 1989 (February 2006 for road transport); balances of opinion : average since 1988 (February 2006 for road transport)
  • Source: INSEE, monthly business survey in services.