The index of current assessments for the economy as a whole rose by 0.3 points in December (seasonally adjusted) to –12.8 points. Differences emerged across the sectors. In the service industries, the index fell by 4.2 points to –22.3 points, thus recording the second-lowest value ever observed. In the construction industry, on the other hand, the index rose significantly on a seasonally adjusted basis (+10.5 points) and, at 17.8 points, remains well above the zero line separating negative from positive assessments. For the manufacturing sector, the situation index rose by 4.0 points, but remained in the sceptical range at –7.7 points.
The expectations of Austrian companies improved across all sectors compared with the previous month. The index of business expectations rose by 9.0 points in December and stood at –7.9 points. In the construction industry, the expectations index rose by 5.1 points and remained above the zero line at 7.4 points. For the manufacturing sector, the expectation index also increased noticeably (+12.1 points), rising to –5.3 points. This puts the index in ranges last reached before the COVID-19 crisis in February 2020. The expectations index also rose in the service sectors (+7.6 points) but remained well in negative territory at –12.6 points. Despite improvements in the index, the majority of companies expects the economic trend to be dominated by COVID-19 in the first few months of the new year.