Warsaw, 1st October 2020
Busometr: Investments are sinking, but the labour market is still in good shape
The “Busometr” index of business mood for the 2nd half of 2020 amounted to 42.4 points (a drop from 44.5 points in the previous half-year) which means that entrepreneurs’ moods during the COVID-19 epidemic are worsening. Investments suffered hardest, while the labour market still enjoys a surprisingly good mood.
The drop in entrepreneurs’ moods has been recorded successively since the record-breaking 2nd half of 2018, when the “Busometr” index amounted to 56.8 points. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the sentiment survey for the 2nd half of 2020 took place in very particular conditions of the epidemic and economic perturbations related to it.
“We expected business moods to worsen,” explains Cezary Kaźmierczak, President of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers. “What may be surprising is that the difference caused by COVID is relatively small. We have seen regular declines since mid-2018 when the economy was at its peak. The epidemic caused this trend to continue rather than accelerate significantly.”
The analysis of individual components of the Busometr index suggests that entrepreneurs’ sentiments vary depending on the specific part of the economic reality being in question.
Exactly 50% of respondents believe that the economic situation will deteriorate in the months to come. Owners of micro-enterprises are most pessimistic about the future – in their case, the component “Economic situation” is significantly lower than for small, medium and large companies.
The lowest in history result of the “Investments” component is certainly something to be worried about. The index in this respect amounted to 29.5 points compared to the record-breaking 53.7 points in the 2nd half of 2018. Almost 70% of companies declared that they plan no investments at all.
“The problem with investments in Poland is of a structural nature, but the uncertainty related to COVID and the constantly changing regulations only deepen it,” stresses Jakub Bińkowski, the Union’s Director of the Law and Legislation Department. “The lowest result of the ‘Busometr’ index in history shows that a policy adjustment is necessary in this area.”
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers calls the government to abandon the incessant amendments to the conditions of running a business in Poland. The price of regulatory risk is rising rapidly, and companies are afraid to invest. One has to call it by its name: if the government does not calm down in terms of changes, there will be no investment. It will get even worse.
The following are the government’s surprises from only the last two months:
- the sugar tax;
- CIT for limited partnerships;
- rain tax;
- the announcement of the excise tax on used cars;
- advertising tax;
- the announcement of a digital tax;
- the ban on breeding fur animals and ritual slaughter;
- a restrictive implementation of the audio-visual directive.
In all this chaos, it is extremely difficult to plan and run any business activity. We call for reflection. There is no obligation to run business activity in Poland.
Considering the conditions in place as a result of the epidemic, the level of the “Labour market” component is surprisingly positive – 14% of companies plan to increase wages and employment, while job and wage cuts are planned by 7% and 5% of companies, respectively. The results of the survey seem to confirm the thesis that Polish entrepreneurs are not afraid of the negative effects of the pandemic and are trying to maintain employment.
Busometr ZPP – the Index of Economic Mood in SME Sector is an economic index showcasing the level of optimism in small and medium enterprises, and their plans for the next six months.
Three components affect the index: (1) the economic situation, (2) labour market (remunerations and employment) and (3) investments.
A value within the range of 0-100 is assigned to each component.
The Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers along with Maison&Partners conduct the research among a representative group of small and medium enterprises (up to 250 employees). Busometr ZPP is published every six months. The sample size is N = 600 respondents from the SME sector.
The survey is carried out since 2011.