Indicators for the finance sector


Business tendency indicators for the finance sector, which includes financial and legal activities.

Ten indicators are produced using weighted net balances (WNBs) defined as the difference between the proportion of businesses reporting seeing an increase in a particular measure compared with the proportion of businesses seeing a decrease.

There are eight indicators which measure current performance compared to three months earlier:

  • business activity
  • new business
  • capacity utilisation
  • input costs
  • product prices
  • profitability
  • employment
  • business optimism

There are two indicators measuring future performance for the next three months:

  • future business activity
  • future employment

Data is not available for June and September 2016, as the survey was not run for these quarters.

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Data Dictionary

Column Type Label Description
Reference date text
Quarter numeric
Year numeric
Business Activity text

This is the total amount of work undertaken by an organisation. Business activity can be thought of as gross income, chargeable hours worked, turnover or the number of products produced. The measure of business activity used depends on the nature of an organisation. For example, a legal firm may use the number of chargeable hours worked. A bank may decide to use values of fees, commission and premium income.

New Business text

This is the amount of new business placed with an organisation. This may include any new clients, new orders or contracts from existing clients or any new contracts.

Capacity Utilisation text

This is the current business activity relative to ‘normal capacity’. An organisation is above its normal capacity if e.g. it is busier than normal or staff are working longer hours than normal. Similarly, an organisation is below its normal capacity if e.g. it is quieter than normal or staff are working shorter hours than normal.

Input Costs text

This is the average cost for all inputs used by an organisation. Inputs include supplies obtained, stocks/materials bought in and costs of employees, including wages, salaries and pension costs paid by an organisation. Organisations are asked to give a weighted average of costs; for example, if employment costs are the largest share, they should be given the largest weighting (i.e. importance) when answering this question.

Product Prices text

This is the price charged per item or per unit of time on average. For example, a legal firm will know how much they charge an hour. However, if an organisation offers various services/products they are asked to give a weighted average; for example, if one service accounts for most of an organisation’s sales and its prices have increased, then the answer should be that product prices increased.

Profitability text

This is the total profits earned on all activities of an organisation. If an organisation does not calculate profits over the most recent three months, they are asked to estimate how their profitability has changed, taking into account changes in turnover, changes in input costs and changes in mark-ups/spreads over input costs.

Employment text

This is the number of employees employed on average. Two part-time employees are counted as equivalent to one full-time employee. For example, if two part-time employees resigned and one full-time employee was taken on, this should be counted as no net change. Organisations are asked to ignore seasonal or temporary hirings.

Business Optimism text

This refers to an organisation’s confidence or optimism about the overall business situation in its sector generally. Unlike the previous questions, it is not about what is actually happening to an organisation at present, but asks about the organisation’s opinions for its sector generally.

Future Business Activity text

This is the predicted business activity for three months’ time, compared to the organisation’s current situation.

Future Employment text

This is the predicted employment for three months’ time, compared to the organisation’s current situation.

Additional Information

Field Value
Data last updated July 24, 2020
Metadata last updated April 12, 2019
Created April 12, 2019
Format text/csv
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