Optimistic Outlook for Business Landscape

SME outlook about the economy more optimistic than before - but there are wide differences around the country.

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File photo / Credit: Finnvera

Finland’s small and medium sized companies (SMEs) say they have improved expectations about the country’s economy.

According to a new “economic barometer” survey, an average 47% of SMEs think the economic situation will improve over the next year. That’s up 3% from the previous survey in spring.

“It may be a sign that growth is on the horizons” says Mikael Pentikäinen, CEO of the Federation of Finnish Enterprises.

According to the organisation, growth and employment goes hand-in-hand with structural reforms and moderate wage raises.

Finland’s Minister of Economy Mika Lintilä MP (Centre) describes the improved outlook in more glowing terms.

“Business confidence in the country’s positive economic situation was already visible with the results we saw in spring. It seems that SME faith is further strengthened” he said.

However, according to the Minister, he is concerned that lack of attention to the availability of skilled labour could become a problem for continued economic growth.

Regional Black Spots

The new figures show that a positive outlook is not shared across the whole of the country. There are large regional disparities.

Economic expectations are strongest in Helsinki and the capital city region, where SMEs gave a 46% to 48% thumbs up to a positive economic future. Elsewhere in Uusimaa it was 39%. In southwest Finland 42% while in Central Finland 40%.

The worst economic outlook was found in Kainuu and North Karelia at 20%. While South Savo was 21% and South Karelia 22%.

The SME barometer survey is based on responses from 4,700 companies and was commissioned by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Finnvera and the Ministry of Economic Affairs & Employment. The barometer is published twice each year.