Continued moderate growth in the Norwegian economy
The enterprises in Norges Bank's regional network reported that output growth over the past 3 months had been approximately unchanged since the October survey. There are prospects for continued moderate growth ahead.
Output growth continued to slow in the oil industry supplier sector and petroleum-related export industry. The construction industry also reported weaker growth due to fewer housing starts. At the same time, other industries and commercial services reported that growth had picked up since the previous survey. A number of contacts noted that the krone depreciation and increasing public investment had contributed to growth.
There were prospects for continued moderate growth, but enterprises as a whole expected that the pace of growth might increase slightly over the next 6 months. Enterprises in commercial services expected a continued pick-up in growth ahead. Somewhat higher growth ahead was also expected in the construction industry. A number of construction contacts envisaged more stable developments in housing construction. Oil industry suppliers revised down their expectations again in this survey and expected that growth would continue to slow in the period to summer.
Enterprises' capacity utilisation as a whole was virtually unchanged, but contacts reported more ample labour supply, and the share of network contacts citing labour supply as a constraint was at its lowest level since May 2010.Employment growth had slowed somewhat since October, and contacts expected approximately unchanged growth ahead.
Contacts estimated annual wage growth in 2014 at slightly below 3½ percent. Differences in wage estimates across sectors were relatively small.
Information was provided by 329 regional network enterprises in this survey. The interviews were mainly conducted in February.
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