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No pessimism in the timber construction sector

Article by Kathrin Lanz (adapted for; translated by Eva Guzely) | 12.10.2022 - 09:43

The development of new orders (timber construction sector; in blue) and the development of new orders and sales (trade and craft; in grey) from H1 2018 to H1 2022 © KMU Forschung

In the economic survey carried out by Austrian research institute KMU Forschung Austria, 29% of the timber construction companies reported year-on-year increases in the number of orders in the first half-year. At 53% of the respondents, orders were constant and 18% recorded decreases.

Then, in the third quarter, the business situation was mostly (55%) “normal for the season”, as was forecast everywhere. Only 9% of the companies perceived their performance as “poor”. Capacity utilization also developed in line with the business situation. The sector’s average was 15 weeks of full capacity utilization. Compared to the third quarter of 2021, the average order backlog increased by 2.6%.

Utilization as a snapshot of a moment in time

18% of the companies would be able to take on additional orders immediately (2021: 22%), while 50% could do so in three months (last year: 44%) and 23% in six months (last year: 24%). 9% of the companies will only be able to take on new orders again in nine months (2021: 10%).

Caution at the end of the year

In 2021, 20% still expected a year-on-year increase in new orders in the fourth quarter. This year, only 13% think that there will be a positive development in this respect. If one includes the 45% of respondents who do not expect any change, the vast majority of timber construction companies has a positive outlook. However, 42% expect decreases in new orders (last year: 28%). When it comes to staffing, 61% of the companies intend to keep the number of employees unchanged in the months from October to December (2021: 67%).

The results of the economic survey in the third quarter are based on information provided by 95 companies with around 1360 employees.