SME barometer signals optimism

The most important finding of a survey carried out by the Deutsche Mittelstands Barometer (DMB) is that small and medium-sized entities are optimistic about the year 2008 and expect more employment. Thus, the positive feeling among SMEs is to continue and will further boost the labour market over the months to come. However, this positive outlook is darkened by too much bureaucracy, high tax burdens as well as a lack of specialists.

The entrepreneurs interviewed assess their business situation very positively. Their assessment reached a mean value of 68.13 points which is an improvement by 4.1 points in comparison to last year´s survey. The labour market is also expected to benefit from this positive mood: 38.6% of SMEs plan to recruit new staff.

Also remarkable is the assessment of the business cycle which for the first time reached a mean value of 32.65. However, this positive assessment does not apply to all economic sectors. In particular the business situation of the retail trade is seen critically. The respective value reached just 50 which reveals the difficult situation of this sector which was among other things caused by the VAT increase.

The quality of professional training is seen critically in particular with regard to wholesale and foreign trade as well as industry. However, there are regional differences: in Baden-Wurttemberg the quality of professional training is not criticised and reaches a mean value of 49.17. In the Saarland, however, it is seen to be dramatically insufficient reaching a mean value of 68 there.
As was already the case in recent years, SMEs consider bureaucracy and high taxes and fees to be a big burden to the German economy. Here the assessment assigned a mean value of 75.90.

The German Mittelstands-Barometer is a co-operation project between the Forschungsstelle Mittelständische Wirtschaft at the Philipps-Universität Marburg (FMW), the Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft (BVMW) and the BDO Deutsche Warentreuhand AG. In the course of the yearly survey among entrepreneurs more than 2400 business owners and leaders from all regions of Germany were interviewed on their expectations and business situation. GERMAN