Further confirmation of the economic recovery from the brief six-month recession we experienced late last year comes from a set of figures released by the National Statistics Office relating to services turnover.
According to the NSO, the working-day adjusted services turnover in the second quarter of the year grew by 16.2 percent over that in the first quarter, even though it was still 2.0 percent lower than the level registered in the second quarter a year ago.
There were strong rebounds in accommodation and food services (+ 67.6%), in administrative and support services activities (+ 56.6%), and in transportation and storage (+ 24.9%), but even turnover in the information and communication sector, the wholesale and retail sector, and the professional, scientific and technical sector grew by 11.6 percent, 11 percent and 10.3 percent respectively.
The fact that the recovery was broad-based is a good sign for the future, even though turnover in some of the sectors was below last year’s second quarter levels. The sectors where turnover was still below last year’s levels were professional, scientific and technical activities (- 7.3%), administrative and support services (- 5.7%), and wholesale and retail trade (- 3.4%). The other three sectors registered annual growth ranging between 0.6 percent and 5.2 percent.
The recovery in turnover was reflected, though in a more muted way, in unadjusted employment levels. The best growth quarter-on-quarter was in information and communication (+ 5.5%) as well as in accommodation and food services (+ 7.2%). But there was some improvement in all the other sectors. Overall, employment was 2.5 percent better. Again, looking at annual growth rates, overall employment in the second quarter this year was still 0.3 percent lower than a year ago, the sectoral experience ranging between a 6.1 percent growth in professional and technical services and a 4.2 percent drop in administrative and support services.
Working-day-adjusted gross wages, however, rose 3.4 percent quarter-on-quarter and 2.9 percent annually. The leader in paying higher wages was the accommodation and food sector, with a 9.2 percent improvement quarter-on-quarter, whilst the professional and technical services sector had the highest annual growth with a 13 percent improvement.