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Subjects > Business tendency surveys

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Subject: Business tendency surveys (construction)

.BC.......
Contact person/organisation
OECD statistics contact: stat.contact@oecd.org

Direct source
Business opinion survey data published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) are compiled initially by national statistical institutes, other government agencies, private research institutes, banks, and other research institutes attached to universities or other academic institutions. The OECD obtains business opinion survey data for 21 countries from the European Commission in lieu of their direct collection from national agencies. The countries involved are Members of both the European Union and the OECD, and comprise: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom. Data published by the European Commission are based on surveys carried out by public and private institutes in the Member States in the framework of the Joint Harmonised EU Programme.

Variables collected
The target variables included in the MEI are listed below. However, it should be emphasised that country coverage of these indicators varies. Confidence indicators compiled according to national definitions are available for the following countries: Switzerland, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. For information on variables included and calculations of national confidence indicators please refer to country information. For information on confidence indicators please refer to the notes below on the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys.

Construction target indicators

Construction confidence indicator
Business situation: present
Order books: level
Employment: future tendency
Selling prices: future tendency

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The specific questions in the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys for the construction sector is outlined below. It should be emphasised that not all countries ask all questions. Furthermore, the actual wording of the questions asked in national surveys is modified to meet national circumstances and environment.

Confidence indicator: The construction confidence indicator is the arithmetic average of the balances (in percentage points) of the answers to the questions on: order books - level; and employment - future tendency.

Business situation: present: The question is "How has your building activity developed over the past 3 months? It has ... + increased = remain unchanged - decreased".

Employment: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your firm's total employment to change over the next 3 months? It will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Order books: level: The question is "Do you consider your current overall order books to be ...? + more than sufficient (above normal) = sufficient (normal for the season) - not sufficient (below normal)".

Selling prices: The question is "How do you expect the prices you charge to change over the next 3 months? They will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".




Sector coverage
Sector coverage for the business tendency surveys published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) comprises: manufacturing; construction; retail trade; and services. 

From May 2010, the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business and Consumer Surveys sectors are defined according to the NACE Rev. 2, signalling a break in the series.

Key statistical concept
Business tendency surveys are carried out to obtain qualitative information for use in monitoring the current business situation and forecasting short-term developments.

The information collected in business tendency surveys is described as qualitative because respondents are asked to assign qualities, rather than quantities, to the variables of interest. For example, in a business tendency survey, respondents might be asked to assign qualities to the value of their order books such as "higher than normal", "normal" or "below normal". In a conventional industry survey on the other hand, respondents may be asked to give quantitative information about their order books, such as the actual value of outstanding orders.

It is generally much easier for respondents to give qualitative rather than quantitative information because the former does not require respondents to consult their accounting records. As a result, the questionnaires can be completed quickly and the results of the survey can be published much sooner than the results of traditional statistical surveys.

Compared to traditional statistical surveys, which usually cover only variables on one aspect of an enterprise's activity, business tendency surveys collect information about a wide range of variables selected for their ability, when analysed together, to give an overall picture of a sector of the economy. For example, most business surveys collect information on production, order books, new orders, stocks of finished goods, exports, employment and prices.

The range of information covered by business tendency surveys goes beyond variables that can easily be captured in conventional quantitative statistics. Qualitative information may be collected for variables that are difficult or impossible to measure by conventional methods. Examples include:

- capacity utilisation;
- production bottlenecks;
- plans and expectations for the immediate future;
- manager's views on the overall economic situation.

Detailed guidelines for the development of questionnaires used for the collection of data from businesses using harmonised questions and recommended survey design practices are outlined in the OECD publication, Business Tendency Surveys: A Handbook, published in 2003

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The presentation and methods of the monthly and quarterly business tendency surveys of EU Member States are harmonised following EU guidelines. However, collaborating institutes in each country may include additional questions in their various national surveys. Analogously, the sectoral breakdown may be more detailed than set up in the Programme, while, logically, the sample size for each survey varies across countries according to their respective statistical populations and their structures.




Aggregation and consolidation
Data from the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys are presented as balances of replies between positive (+) and negative (-) options. Data on the assessment of production, orders and stocks are presented as balances of replies, respectively: "increasing" over "decreasing", "rather large" over "rather small", "too large" over "too small".


Seasonal adjustment
The harmonised European series are seasonally adjusted using DAINTIES software. The direct method is used (i.e. national unadjusted series are aggregated prior to seasonal adjustment).


Recommended uses and limitations
The basic purpose of business tendency surveys in the past was to collect information on business conditions for the benefit of respondents and as a result many such surveys are carried out by trade associations. Today, business tendency surveys have become a valuable tool for economic analysis for all types of users.

The main users of survey results are still the respondents themselves. Detailed survey results broken down by sectors of activity provide information on business conditions in their  own sector as seen by their competitors and about the current and future business situation in their suppliers' and users' sectors.

Economic and financial analysts have also become major users of series derived from business tendency surveys. This is because the data are available rapidly and because some of the series provide advance warning of changes in aggregate economic activity. In addition, the survey information focuses on assessments and expectations of the economic situation by actors in the market. This is reflected in the extensive use of confidence indicators derived from business survey results. Such composite indicators summarise a selection of key survey variables in a single synthetic indicator.

The results of business tendency surveys are still subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, and users are advised to refer to methodological information (metadata) to ascertain the relevance of the statistics to their need(s). Particular attention should be given to the wording of questionnaires used to collect information from respondents, the sample frame used for the selection of respondent enterprises, the size of the sample and the survey response rate.



Subject: Business tendency surveys (non-manufacturing)

.BN.......
Contact person/organisation
OECD statistics contact: stat.contact@oecd.org

Direct source
Business opinion survey data for non-manufacturing published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) are compiled initially by national statistical institutes, other government agencies, private research institutes, banks, and other research institutes attached to universities or other academic institutions.

Variables collected

The target variables for non-manufacturing included in MEI are listed below:

Business situation: present
Business situation: future tendency
Orders intentions or demand: tendency
Employment: tendency
Raw materials stocks: tendency
Employment: future tendency




Geographic coverage
Data for the non-manufacturing sector are only provided by the United States and Korea.

Sector coverage
Sector coverage for the business tendency surveys published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) comprises: construction; retail; and services.

Key statistical concept
Business tendency surveys are carried out to obtain qualitative information for use in monitoring the current business situation and forecasting short-term developments.

The information collected in business tendency surveys is described as qualitative because respondents are asked to assign qualities, rather than quantities, to the variables of interest. For example, in a business tendency survey , respondents might be asked to assign qualities to the value of their order books such as "higher than normal", "normal" or "below normal". In a conventional industry survey on the other hand, respondents may be asked to give quantitative information about their order books, such as the actual value of outstanding orders.

It is generally much easier for respondents to give qualitative rather than quantitative information because the former does not require respondents to consult their accounting records. As a result, the questionnaires can be completed quickly and the results of the survey can be published much sooner than the results of traditional statistical surveys.

Compared to traditional statistical surveys, which usually cover only variables on one aspect of an enterprise's activity, business tendency surveys collect information about a wide range of variables selected for their ability, when analysed together, to give an overall picture of a sector of the economy. For example, most business surveys collect information on production, order books, new orders, stocks of finished goods, exports, employment and prices.

The range of information covered by business tendency surveys goes beyond variables that can easily be captured in conventional quantitative statistics. Qualitative information may be collected for variables that are difficult or impossible to measure by conventional methods. Examples include:

- capacity utilisation;
- production bottlenecks;
- plans and expectations for the immediate future;
- manager's views on the overall economic situation.

Detailed guidelines for the development of questionnaires used for the collection of data from businesses using harmonised questions and recommended survey design practices are outlined in the OECD publication: Business Tendency Surveys: A Handbook, published in 2003


Recommended uses and limitations
The basic purpose of business tendency surveys in the past was to collect information on business conditions for the benefit of respondents and as a result many such surveys are carried out by trade associations. Today, business tendency surveys have become a valuable tool for economic analysis for all types of users.

The main users of survey results are still the respondents themselves. Detailed survey results broken down by sectors of activity provide information on business conditions in their  own sector as seen by their competitors and about the current and future business situation in their suppliers' and users' sectors.

Economic and financial analysts have also become major users of series derived from business tendency surveys. This is because the data are available rapidly and because some of the series provide advance warning of changes in aggregate economic activity. In addition, the survey information focuses on assessments and expectations of the economic situation by actors in the market. This is reflected in the extensive use of confidence indicators derived from business survey results. Such composite indicators summarise a selection of key survey variables in a single synthetic indicator.

The results of business tendency surveys are still subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, and users are advised to refer to methodological information (metadata) to ascertain the relevance of the statistics to their need(s). Particular attention should be given to the wording of questionnaires used to collect information from respondents, the sample frame used for the selection of respondent enterprises, the size of the sample and the survey response rate.



Subject: Business tendency surveys (retail trade)

.BR.......
Contact person/organisation
OECD statistics contact: stat.contact@oecd.org

Direct source
Business opinion survey data published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) are compiled initially by national statistical institutes, other government agencies, private research institutes, banks, and other research institutes attached to universities or other academic institutions. The OECD obtains business opinion survey data for 21 countries from the European Commission in lieu of their direct collection from national agencies. The countries involved are Members of both the European Union and the OECD, and comprise: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom. Data published by the European Commission are based on surveys carried out by public and private institutes in the Member States in the framework of the Joint Harmonised EU Programme.

Variables collected

The target variables included in MEI are listed below. However, it should be emphasised that country coverage of these indicators varies.

Confidence indicators are compiled according to national definitions are available for the following countries: Switzerland, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa. For information on variables included and calculations of national confidence indicators please refer to country information. For information on confidence indicators please refer to the notes below on the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys.

Retail trade industry target variables

Retail confidence indicator
Business situation - activity: present
Business situation - activity: future
Volume of stocks: level
Employment: future tendency
Order intentions or demand

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The specific questions in the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys for retail trade are outlined below. It should be emphasised that not all countries ask all questions. Furthermore, the actual wording of the questions asked in national surveys are modified to meet national circumstances and environment.

Confidence indicator: The retail trade confidence indicator is the arithmetic average of the balances (in percentage points) of the answers to the questions on: present business situation; business situation - future tendency; volume of stocks - present and future.

Business situation: present: The question is "How has (have) your business activity (sales) developed over the past 3 months? It has (They have) + improved (increased) = remained unchanged - deteriorate (decreased)".

Business situation: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your business activity (sales) to change over the next 3 months? It (They) will ... + improve (increase) = remain unchanged - deteriorate (decrease)".

Employment: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your firm's total employment to change over the next 3 months? It will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Order intentions or demand: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your orders placed with suppliers to change over the next 3 months? They will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Volume of stocks: present: The question is "Do you consider the volume of stock currently hold to be...? + too large (above normal) = adequate (normal for the season) - too small (below normal)".







Sector coverage
Sector coverage for the business tendency surveys published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) comprises: manufacturing; construction; retail trade; and services. 

From May 2010, the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business and Consumer Surveys sectors are defined according to the NACE Rev. 2, signalling a break in the series.

Key statistical concept
Business tendency surveys are carried out to obtain qualitative information for use in monitoring the current business situation and forecasting short-term developments.

The information collected in business tendency surveys is described as qualitative because respondents are asked to assign qualities, rather than quantities, to the variables of interest. For example, in a business tendency survey, respondents might be asked to assign qualities to the value of their order books such as "higher than normal", "normal" or "below normal". In a conventional industry survey on the other hand, respondents may be asked to give quantitative information about their order books, such as the actual value of outstanding orders.

It is generally much easier for respondents to give qualitative rather than quantitative information because the former does not require respondents to consult their accounting records. As a result, the questionnaires can be completed quickly and the results of the survey can be published much sooner than the results of traditional statistical surveys.

Compared to traditional statistical surveys, which usually cover only variables on one aspect of an enterprise's activity, business tendency surveys collect information about a wide range of variables selected for their ability, when analysed together, to give an overall picture of a sector of the economy. For example, most business surveys collect information on production, order books, new orders, stocks of finished goods, exports, employment and prices.

The range of information covered by business tendency surveys goes beyond variables that can easily be captured in conventional quantitative statistics. Qualitative information may be collected for variables that are difficult or impossible to measure by conventional methods. Examples include:

- capacity utilisation;
- production bottlenecks;
- plans and expectations for the immediate future;
- manager's views on the overall economic situation.

Detailed guidelines for the development of questionnaires used for the collection of data from businesses using harmonised questions and recommended survey design practices are outlined in the OECD publication, Business Tendency Surveys: A Handbook, published in 2003

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The presentation and methods of the monthly and quarterly business tendency surveys of EU Member States are harmonised following EU guidelines. However, collaborating institutes in each country may include additional questions in their various national surveys. Analogously, the sectoral breakdown may be more detailed than set up in the Programme, while, logically, the sample size for each survey varies across countries according to their respective statistical populations and their structures.




Recommended uses and limitations
The basic purpose of business tendency surveys in the past was to collect information on business conditions for the benefit of respondents and as a result many such surveys are carried out by trade associations. Today, business tendency surveys have become a valuable tool for economic analysis for all types of users.

The main users of survey results are still the respondents themselves. Detailed survey results broken down by sectors of activity provide information on business conditions in their  own sector as seen by their competitors and about the current and future business situation in their suppliers' and users' sectors.

Economic and financial analysts have also become major users of series derived from business tendency surveys. This is because the data are available rapidly and because some of the series provide advance warning of changes in aggregate economic activity. In addition, the survey information focuses on assessments and expectations of the economic situation by actors in the market. This is reflected in the extensive use of confidence indicators derived from business survey results. Such composite indicators summarise a selection of key survey variables in a single synthetic indicator.

The results of business tendency surveys are still subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, and users are advised to refer to methodological information (metadata) to ascertain the relevance of the statistics to their need(s). Particular attention should be given to the wording of questionnaires used to collect information from respondents, the sample frame used for the selection of respondent enterprises, the size of the sample and the survey response rate.



Subject: Business tendency surveys (manufacturing)

.BS.......
Contact person/organisation
OECD statistics contact: stat.contact@oecd.org

Direct source
Business opinion survey data published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) are compiled initially by national statistical institutes, other government agencies, private research institutes, banks, and other research institutes attached to universities or other academic institutions. The OECD obtains business opinion survey data for 21 countries from the European Commission in lieu of their direct collection from national agencies. The countries involved are Members of both the European Union and the OECD, and comprise: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom. Data published by the European Commission are based on surveys carried out by public and private institutes in the Member States in the framework of the Joint Harmonised EU Programme.

Variables collected
The target variables included in MEI are listed below. However, it should be emphasised that no one country provides all of the variables listed.

General Indicators on Business or Economic Situation are not part of the Harmonised EU Programme on Business Surveys for the manufacturing sector (see below), but are included in the EU system for other sectors. Such indicators are, however, available for several non-EU OECD Member countries (Mexico, Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand) and large non-OECD Member countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa). For information on details of these indicators please refer to country information.

Confidence indicators compiled according to national definitions are available for the following countries: United States, Australia, Mexico, Norway, Switzerland, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation, and South Africa. For information on variables included and calculations of national confidence indicators please refer to country information. For information on confidence indicators compiled please refer to the notes below on the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys.

Manufacturing industry target indicators

Manufacturing confidence indicator
Business situation: present
Business situation: future
Production: tendency
Production: future tendency
Orders inflow or demand: tendency
Order books: level
Export order books: level
Finished goods stocks: level
Raw material stocks: present situation
Rate of capacity utilisation
Employment: future tendency

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys
The specific questions in the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys for manufacturing are outlined below. It should be emphasised that not all countries ask all questions. Furthermore, the actual wording of the questions asked in national surveys is modified to meet national circumstances and environment.

Confidence indicator: The industrial confidence indicator is the arithmetic average of the balances (in percentage points) of the answers to the questions on: production - future tendency; finished goods stocks - level; and order books - level.

Production: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your production to develop over the next 3 months? It will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Production: tendency: The question is "How has your production developed over the past 3 months? It has ... + increased = remained unchanged - decreased".

Rate of capacity utilisation: The question is "At what capacity is your company currently operating (as a percentage of full capacity)? The company is currently operating at ..., ... % of full capacity".

Employment: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your firm’s total employment to change over the next 3 months? It will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Finished goods stocks: level: The question is "Do you consider your current stock of finished products to be ...? + too large (above normal) = adequate (normal for the season) - too small (below normal)".

Order books: level: The question is "Do you consider your current overall order books to be ...? + more than sufficient (above normal) = sufficient (normal for the season) - not sufficient (below normal)".

Order books: tendency: The question is "How have your orders developed over the past 3 months? They have ... + increased = remained unchanged - decreased".

Selling prices: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your selling prices to change over the next 3 months? They will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Export order books: level: The question is "Do you consider your current export order books to be ...? + more than sufficient (above normal) = sufficient (normal for the season) - not sufficient (below normal)".


Sector coverage
Sector coverage for the business tendency surveys published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) comprises: manufacturing; construction; retail trade; and services. 

From May 2010, the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business and Consumer Surveys sectors are defined according to the NACE Rev. 2, signalling a break in the series.

Key statistical concept
Business tendency surveys are carried out to obtain qualitative information for use in monitoring the current business situation and forecasting short-term developments.

The information collected in business tendency surveys is described as qualitative because respondents are asked to assign qualities, rather than quantities, to the variables of interest. For example, in a business tendency survey, respondents might be asked to assign qualities to the value of their order books such as "higher than normal", "normal" or "below normal". In a conventional industry survey on the other hand, respondents may be asked to give quantitative information about their order books, such as the actual value of outstanding orders.

It is generally much easier for respondents to give qualitative rather than quantitative information because the former does not require respondents to consult their accounting records. As a result, the questionnaires can be completed quickly and the results of the survey can be published much sooner than the results of traditional statistical surveys.

Compared to traditional statistical surveys, which usually cover only variables on one aspect of an enterprise's activity, business tendency surveys collect information about a wide range of variables selected for their ability, when analysed together, to give an overall picture of a sector of the economy. For example, most business surveys collect information on production, order books, new orders, stocks of finished goods, exports, employment and prices.

The range of information covered by business tendency surveys goes beyond variables that can easily be captured in conventional quantitative statistics. Qualitative information may be collected for variables that are difficult or impossible to measure by conventional methods. Examples include:

- capacity utilisation;
- production bottlenecks;
- plans and expectations for the immediate future;
- manager's views on the overall economic situation.

Detailed guidelines for the development of questionnaires used for the collection of data from businesses using harmonised questions and recommended survey design practices are outlined in the OECD publication, Business Tendency Surveys: A Handbook, published in 2003

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The presentation and methods of the monthly and quarterly business tendency surveys of EU Member States are harmonised following EU guidelines. However, collaborating institutes in each country may include additional questions in their various national surveys. Analogously, the sectoral breakdown may be more detailed than set up in the Programme, while, logically, the sample size for each survey varies across countries according to their respective statistical populations and their structures.




Recommended uses and limitations
The basic purpose of business tendency surveys in the past was to collect information on business conditions for the benefit of respondents and as a result many such surveys are carried out by trade associations. Today, business tendency surveys have become a valuable tool for economic analysis for all types of users.

The main users of survey results are still the respondents themselves. Detailed survey results broken down by sectors of activity provide information on business conditions in their  own sector as seen by their competitors and about the current and future business situation in their suppliers' and users' sectors.

Economic and financial analysts have also become major users of series derived from business tendency surveys. This is because the data are available rapidly and because some of the series provide advance warning of changes in aggregate economic activity. In addition, the survey information focuses on assessments and expectations of the economic situation by actors in the market. This is reflected in the extensive use of confidence indicators derived from business survey results. Such composite indicators summarise a selection of key survey variables in a single synthetic indicator.

The results of business tendency surveys are still subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, and users are advised to refer to methodological information (metadata) to ascertain the relevance of the statistics to their need(s). Particular attention should be given to the wording of questionnaires used to collect information from respondents, the sample frame used for the selection of respondent enterprises, the size of the sample and the survey response rate.




Subject: OECD Indicator


.BSCICP03.......
Sector coverage
The standardised BCIs represent only the manufacturing sector. Other sectors (construction, retail trade and other services) were not included since data availability is scarce among Non European Union OECD member countries and in the Big 6 OECD Non-member Economies. In order of preference the following types of business survey data have been used to calculate the standardised indicators by country: the harmonized industrial confidence indicator, business confidence indicators (either using the national definition or by computing it internally) or business situation.

Key statistical concept

Starting from June 2010, smoothing, normalisation and zone aggregation methods have changed as follow:

1. The series are now smoothed using the Hodrick-Prescott (HP) filter, where cycles shorter than 6 months are removed (l=1).

2. The series are normalised by subtracting their mean and then dividing the difference by their standard deviation. After normalisation, they are amplitude-adjusted to the de-trended indices of GDP, used as proxy measures of the business cycle, and finally centred around 100.

3. The BCI are calculated as annually chain-linked Laspeyres indices using as weights annual GDP at current prices adjusted for PPPs. More information on this calculation can be found in the OECD Composite Leading Indicator zone aggregation documentation; for weights, please click here. BCI zones are calculated if the overall weight of the available components is greater than 70%.




Subject: Business tendency surveys (services)

.BV.......
Contact person/organisation
OECD statistics contact: stat.contact@oecd.org

Direct source
Business opinion survey data published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) are compiled initially by national statistical institutes, other government agencies, private research institutes, banks, and other research institutes attached to universities or other academic institutions. The OECD obtains business opinion survey data for 20 countries from the European Commission in lieu of their direct collection from national agencies. The countries involved are Members of both the European Union and the OECD, and comprise: Austria; Belgium; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom. Data published by the European Commission are based on surveys carried out by public and private institutes in the Member States in the framework of the Joint Harmonised EU Programme.

Variables collected

The target variables included in MEI are listed below. However, it should be emphasised that no one country provides all of the variables listed and the number of countries providing data for the services sector is still quite small.

Confidence indicators compiled according to national definitions are available for Indonesia. For information on variables included and calculations of national confidence indicators please refer to country information. For information on confidence indicators compiled please refer to the notes below on the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys.

Services industries target indicators

Service confidence indicator
Business situation - activity: tendency
Business situation - activity: future
Demand evolution: tendency
Demand evolution: future tendency
Employment: tendency
Employment: future tendency

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The specific questions in the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys for services are outlined below. It should be emphasised that not all countries ask all questions. Furthermore, the actual wording of the questions asked in national surveys is modified to meet national circumstances and environment.

Confidence indicator: The services confidence indicator is the arithmetic average of the balances (in percentage points) of the answers to the questions on: business situation: present; demand - tendency; and demand - future tendency.

Business situation: tendency: The question is "How has your business situation developed over the past 3 months? It has + improved = remained unchanged - deteriorated".

Demand: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect the demand (turnover) for your company's services to change over the next 3 months? It will + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Demand: tendency: The question is "How has demand (turnover) for your company's services changed over the past 3 months? It has ... + increased = remained unchanged - decreased".

Employment: future tendency: The question is "How do you expect your firm's total employment to change over the next 3 months ? It will ... + increase = remain unchanged - decrease".

Employment: tendency: The question is "How has your firm's total employment changed over the past 3 months? It has ... + increased = remained unchanged - decreased".





Sector coverage
Sector coverage for the business tendency surveys published in the OECD's monthly Main Economic Indicators (MEI) comprises: manufacturing; construction; retail trade; and services. 

From May 2010, the Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business and Consumer Surveys sectors are defined according to the NACE Rev. 2, signalling a break in the series.

Key statistical concept
Business tendency surveys are carried out to obtain qualitative information for use in monitoring the current business situation and forecasting short-term developments.

The information collected in business tendency surveys is described as qualitative because respondents are asked to assign qualities, rather than quantities, to the variables of interest. For example, in a business tendency survey, respondents might be asked to assign qualities to the value of their order books such as "higher than normal", "normal" or "below normal". In a conventional industry survey on the other hand, respondents may be asked to give quantitative information about their order books, such as the actual value of outstanding orders.

It is generally much easier for respondents to give qualitative rather than quantitative information because the former does not require respondents to consult their accounting records. As a result, the questionnaires can be completed quickly and the results of the survey can be published much sooner than the results of traditional statistical surveys.

Compared to traditional statistical surveys, which usually cover only variables on one aspect of an enterprise's activity, business tendency surveys collect information about a wide range of variables selected for their ability, when analysed together, to give an overall picture of a sector of the economy. For example, most business surveys collect information on production, order books, new orders, stocks of finished goods, exports, employment and prices.

The range of information covered by business tendency surveys goes beyond variables that can easily be captured in conventional quantitative statistics. Qualitative information may be collected for variables that are difficult or impossible to measure by conventional methods. Examples include:

- capacity utilisation;
- production bottlenecks;
- plans and expectations for the immediate future;
- manager's views on the overall economic situation.

Detailed guidelines for the development of questionnaires used for the collection of data from businesses using harmonised questions and recommended survey design practices are outlined in the OECD publication, Business Tendency Surveys: A Handbook, published in 2003

Joint Harmonised EU Programme on Business Opinion Surveys

The presentation and methods of the monthly and quarterly business tendency surveys of EU Member States are harmonised following EU guidelines. However, collaborating institutes in each country may include additional questions in their various national surveys. Analogously, the sectoral breakdown may be more detailed than set up in the Programme, while, logically, the sample size for each survey varies across countries according to their respective statistical populations and their structures.




Recommended uses and limitations
The basic purpose of business tendency surveys in the past was to collect information on business conditions for the benefit of respondents and as a result many such surveys are carried out by trade associations. Today, business tendency surveys have become a valuable tool for economic analysis for all types of users.

The main users of survey results are still the respondents themselves. Detailed survey results broken down by sectors of activity provide information on business conditions in their  own sector as seen by their competitors and about the current and future business situation in their suppliers' and users' sectors.

Economic and financial analysts have also become major users of series derived from business tendency surveys. This is because the data are available rapidly and because some of the series provide advance warning of changes in aggregate economic activity. In addition, the survey information focuses on assessments and expectations of the economic situation by actors in the market. This is reflected in the extensive use of confidence indicators derived from business survey results. Such composite indicators summarise a selection of key survey variables in a single synthetic indicator.

The results of business tendency surveys are still subject to sampling and non-sampling errors, and users are advised to refer to methodological information (metadata) to ascertain the relevance of the statistics to their need(s). Particular attention should be given to the wording of questionnaires used to collect information from respondents, the sample frame used for the selection of respondent enterprises, the size of the sample and the survey response rate.