Business confidence continues to decline


Of the main sectors, manufacturing is declining while construction is on the rise. The other main sectors remain unchanged.

Confidence Indicators March 2024

Last updated

Source: EK (Macrobond)

Confidence in industry declines

The balance figure measuring confidence in industry was -13 in March. Confidence decreased by two points compared to the previous month. The confidence indicator is still significantly below the long-term average of +1.

Production is expected to slightly decrease in the coming months. Order books continued to shrink in March. Finished goods inventories decreased slightly from the previous month and are now slightly above the normal level. Capacity utilization is at full capacity for 56% of companies, slightly higher than last month.

In Finland, confidence in industry was weaker than the EU average in February.

Confidence in construction rebounds

In March, the balance figure representing confidence in construction rose to -40. The figure was two points higher than the reading in February. The long-term average is -7.

Order backlog improved slightly from the previous month but is still significantly below the level considered normal. Expectations regarding the number of employees in the construction sector remained pessimistic.

Confidence in construction was the weakest among all EU countries in February.

Confidence in services remains at the same level as the previous month

Confidence in services remained unchanged in March. The balance figure measuring trust was -4. The long-term average for the services indicator is +11.

The overall economic situation has continued to be challenging in recent months. Sales have slightly decreased compared to the previous month. Sales expectations are still positive, and have slightly strengthened from the previous month.

In Finland, confidence in services was the third weakest among all EU countries in February.

Retail trade confidence unchanged

In retail trade, confidence remained unchanged in March from the previous month’s reading of -12. The long-term average is -1.

In retail trade, sales have contracted even further compared to previous months. Sales expectations for the coming months remain weak. Inventories contracted from the previous month’s level.

Retail trade confidence was weaker in February than the EU average.