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Business confidence still low in Costa Rica

April 7, 2016

Wariness about the country’s employment and economic situation caused a slight decline in confidence among business sector leaders during the first quarter of this year, according to a recent survey.

The Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce (CCCR) released results Wednesday of its Business Confidence Index, which measures perceptions quarterly on four variables: economy, employment, sales and the business situation.

The index this time recorded the minimum level considered “confident,” a decrease over the previous quarter.

Concerns about the country’s employment and economy knocked down the confidence score.

Businesses also expressed a cautious hiring outlook for the upcoming quarter, with 14 percent of employers surveyed saying they are considering reducing their staff in the next three months.

Chamber President Yolanda Fernández Ochoa described the low confidence level in employment as extremely worrisome, mostly because “that variable has failed to surpass the minimum confidence level for 19 consecutive quarters.”

The CCCR’s survey found that the number of companies planning to hire decreased from the previous quarter, from 21 to 19 percent. Most employers — 67 percent — said they plan to maintain their current staffing levels.

Despite the lukewarm confidence looking outward, those surveyed expressed strong confidence in their own firms’ sales and performance.

The Chamber took the opportunity to ask the government to refrain from promoting the approval of new taxes, saying it “would further affect the private sector’s confidence as well as hiring and investment expectations.”

The chamber surveyed CEOs, CFOs and other managers at 700 companies from March 16-31. The study has a margin of error of 3 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent.

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