The latest Business Monitor from InterTradeIreland indicates that the jobs challenge is likely to remain persistent with more firms reducing their staff numbers (14%) than increasing them (7%) in quarter two this year. Moreover, 48% percent of businesses describe themselves as contracting, trying to survive or winding up. This is despite some positive signs in sectors such as agriculture, hotel and leisure and retail during the same period.
The monitor, which surveys 1,000 companies across Ireland on a quarterly basis, also reveals that the downturn has hit small business hardest. Nearly half (48%) of businesses with less than 10 employees report that they are winding up, contracting or simply trying to survive. This is compared to just 14 per cent of firms with over 50 employees.
Companies in the hotel and leisure sector, retail and distribution have made the greatest improvement in sales over the last quarter, although this may be due in part to seasonal factors. The sector which is consistently showing strongest sales performance is business services (for example legal, consultancy, and engineering design firms), faring better than others and reporting greater levels of business. Commenting on the results of the Business Monitor, Aidan Gough, Director of Strategy and Policy at InterTradeIreland said, ‘Too many firms appear to be stuck in a rut with nearly half of businesses contracting or in survival mode. Small firms reliant on domestic demand in particular are facing the most difficult challenges.