Positive Business Sentiment among Knowledge-Intensive Service Providers

Service Providers of the Information Society

Mannheim, (PresseBox) - In Germany the business situation of knowledge-intensive service providers, which include enterprises of the branches tax consultancy and accounting, management consultancy, architecture, technical consultancy and planning, research and development as well as advertising significantly improved during the second quarter 2008 compared to the first quarter 2008. The sentiment indicator for the knowledge-intensive services' sector, based on the companies' business expectations for the next three months and on the assessment of their current business situation reached 67.7 points. This is an increase of 7.1 points compared to the first quarter 2008. "This increase is above all due to the significant growth in demand and in turnover reported by the enterprises of the knowledge-intensive services' sector for the second quarter 2008", says Jenny Meyer, researcher at the Centre for European Economic Research. The companies' positive assessment regarding turnover and demand is not bound to the current situation.

For the third quarter 2008 they also expect a favourable development. The partial indicator which reflects the assessment of the business expectations reached 67.4 points, an increase of 2 points compared to the first quarter 2008. This is the result of a business survey conducted by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim, in cooperation with the credit reference agency Creditreform, Neuss, in June 2008. (Details on the business survey can be found at the end of the press release).

Contrary to the business situation of the knowledge-intensive service providers the business situation of ICT service providers deteriorated during the second quarter 2008. The corresponding sentiment indicator, which reflects the business situation of the enterprises of the branches software and IT services, ICT-specialised trade as well as telecommunication services, fell to 62.4 points. This is 3.8 points lower than the value of the previous quarter. The partial indicator which reflects the assessment of the current business situation lost 2.2 points thus falling to 58.3 points. The partial indicator which reflects the assessment of the business expectations lost 5.6 points and is now at 66.8 points. Despite this decline the value shows that the sentiment among ICT service providers is still rather positive.

The business situation of the service providers of the information society, which comprises both knowledge-intensive and ICT service providers, is considered as robust. The ZEW-IDI, a sentiment indicator for the whole sector service providers of the information society, lost 0.6 points during the second quarter thus falling to 66 points. The positive forecasts made by the service providers when they had been surveyed in the first quarter thus were confirmed during the second quarter 2008. The partial indicator which reflects the assessment of the current business situation thus increased by 0.8 points to 62.2 points.

The positive assessment of the current situation of the knowledge-intensive service providers was above all supported by management consultancies, advertising companies and enterprises of the research and development industry. Almost two thirds of the management consultancies reported an increase in demand and more than two thirds reported a growth in turnover. Almost half of the surveyed advertising companies reported an increase in turnover during the second quarter 2008 and more than half of them saw an increase in demand. In line with this trend more than half of the surveyed enterprises of the research and development industry benefitted from a growth in turnover during the second quarter 2008. About two fifths reported an increase in revenues and a heightened demand.

Although the sentiment indicator for the ICT service providers, which is derived from the business survey, declined during the second quarter 2008, the business situation of the enterprises of the branches software and IT services, ICT-specialised trade as well as telecommunication services appears to be fairly robust. Most of the telecommunication service providers reported no changes in turnover and demand. At the same time, many software and IT service providers and ICT-specialised traders reported an increase in demand. For the third quarter 2008 more than half of the ICT-specialised traders and telecommunication service providers do not expect demand to grow. A more optimistic forecast is made by the enterprises of the software and IT services industry: almost three quarters of them expect demand to grow during the third quarter.

Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH (ZEW)

The ZEW works in the field of user-related empirical economic research. In this context it particularly distinguished itself nationally and internationally by analysing internationally comparative issues in the European context and by compiling scientifically important data bases. The ZEW's duty is to carry out economic research, economic counselling and knowledge transfer.

The ZEW was founded in 1990. At present, 160 employees work at the ZEW, about two thirds of which are researchers.

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