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IBEC Business Sentiment Survey shows highest levels since 2009

The employee numbers index for Q1 is now a positive for the first time in the survey’s history, reaching a high of +4, up from -2 in the previous quarter.

IBEC Chief Economist Fergal O'Brien (file photo)
IBEC Chief Economist Fergal O'Brien (file photo)
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

BUSINESS CONFIDENCE IS at its highest level since 2009, according to the employers’ group IBEC.

The IBEC Business Sentiment Survey for Q1 of 2013 showed growth in both domestic and export sales expectations, helping them to reach their highest levels since the survey began four years ago.

One in four managers indicated that they would be hiring new employees in the coming quarter, up from one in five in Q4 of 2012.

The other main findings of the survey included:

  • CEO perceptions of the overall business environment rose from -14 to -6 on the previous quarter, with the forward-looking index increasing to -4 from -13.
  • Managers’ confidence in their own businesses improved to a new series high, with sentiment for current business at +19, up from +15 in the previous quarter. Three-month outlook also rose sharply to +23 from +10 at the end of 2012.
  • The employee numbers index is now a positive number for the first time in the survey’s history, reaching a high of +4, up from -2 in the previous quarter.

IBEC Chief Economist Fergal O’Brien said that the improvement in confidence was “predominantly due to recovery in the domestic economy”, but that it also appeared that “sustained job creation is taking hold in the exporting sectors”.

O’Brien warned, however, that for this to continue there should be no further tax increases. “Tax increases were necessary due to the pressure on the public finances, but they should now end,” he said.

Read: IBEC appeals for ‘no more taxes’ to try and ease austerity >

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Paul Hyland

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