Finland’s business services still grew in 2008 despite economic slowdown

According to Statistics Finland, the total turnover of business services in Finland was EUR 18.7 billion in 2008

Finland’s business services sector still grew by 11.4% in 2008 compared to the previous year, despite the onset of the recession and the slowing down of the economy, especially in the final quarter of the year. The growth in the business services sector in 2008 was double the growth rate in the private sector as a whole.

In 2008 there were 48,000 companies working in the sector in Finland, employing a total of 186,000 people or 4% more than in 2007. The sector consists of many specialist fields, which are important to the Finnish economy as a whole.

According to Statistics Finland, many business services companies enjoyed satisfactory results for 2008 despite the beginning of the economic downturn. After expenses, the gross margin of the companies in the business services sector was EUR 1.9 billion or about 10%.

In particular, health services, cleaning, bookkeeping and accountancy grew even faster in 2008 than the year before. Turnover also grew in labour hire, management consultancy, technical services, travel agencies, legal services and advertising agencies, but at a lower rate than the previous year.

Nevertheless, the turnover of the travel agency sector, which is very sensitive to economic fluctuations, still increased by 5% in 2008 to EUR 1.6 billion, with the growth attributed to the larger companies in the sector. Advertising agencies, another sector that highly vulnerable to worsening economic climate, also managed a 2.1% increase in net profits in 2008 compared to the year before.

The biggest growth rate in 2008 was enjoyed by labour hire companies, whose turnover increased by 20% from the year before to a total of EUR 1.4 billion. Technical services, including architects, engineering companies, building inspection, and car MOT services experienced the biggest increase in turnover in monetary terms, up 12.4% to EUR 5.1 billion. Interestingly, the more than half of this total turnover is contributed by small and medium sized companies with less than 250 employees.

Source: Statistics Finland