One in four businessmen plans to raise prices between January and March and only 8.9% will create jobs

The Harmonized Business Confidence Indicator (ICEA), whose publication corresponds to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), rose 0.6% in the first quarter of this year, thus returning to the rise after the 2% drop it experienced in the last quarter of 2023.

The advance in business confidence for the January-March period is exclusively due to the improvement of the current situation indicator, since the expectations indicator worsened compared to the previous quarter.

Specifically, the balance of expectations (difference between the opinions of optimistic and pessimistic businessmen) stood at -1.6 points in the first quarter of this year, compared to 0.3 points in the previous quarter. This indicator did not show negative records since the first quarter of 2023.

This is because the percentage of business establishments that think that the progress of their business will be favorable between January and March of this year has stood at 18.6%, six tenths below that reported in the previous quarter.

On the other hand, those who think that their business will develop unfavorably in the first quarter have increased from 18.9% in the previous quarter to 20.2%, while the proportion of entrepreneurs who expect a “normal” evolution has decreased. of its business, from 61.9% to 61.2%.

For its part, the balance sheet (difference between favorable and unfavorable responses compared to the quarter ended) has improved almost five points compared to the previous quarter, going from 3.6 points in the fourth quarter of 2023 to 8.1 points in the first fourth of this year.

This increase in the current situation indicator is the result of the rise in business establishments that think that their business evolved favorably in the last three months and the decrease in those who think that it behaved negatively.

Thus, regarding the last quarter already completed (fourth quarter of 2023), the ICEA shows that 24.6% of business establishments have a favorable opinion about how their business performed in those three months, compared to 16.5% of establishments that have seen an unfavorable evolution in this period and 58.9% that speak of normality.

These percentages were 21.3%, 17.7% and 61%, respectively, in the previous quarter.

The ICEA, which is published quarterly and is comparable at European level, is prepared from a representative sample of business establishments.


According to the INE, 26.3% of Spanish businessmen plan to increase the prices of their business in the first quarter of this year, the highest percentage in a year, while only 6.4% expect to lower them.

Regarding workforces, 8.9% of Spanish employers expect to create jobs between January and March, the lowest percentage since the first quarter of 2023, while 12.4% expect to reduce staff.

During the first quarter of this year, business confidence increased in most economic sectors, in all company sizes and in 13 autonomous communities.


Thus, according to Statistics data, of the five economic sectors analyzed, the only one that reduced confidence in the first quarter was transportation and hospitality (-1%).

On the other hand, confidence increased in the rest of the sectors, especially in construction, with a rebound of 2.1%.

Regarding the size of the establishments, confidence increased in all of them, especially in those with 200 to 999 employees (1.6%) and in those with more than a thousand workers (1.2%). The smallest increase occurred in establishments with fewer than ten employees, with an increase of only 0.1%.

By community, business confidence rose in 13 of them and fell in Cantabria (-3.4%), the Balearic Islands (-3.3%), La Rioja (-3.2%) and Galicia (-0.5%). .

The largest increases in the indicator occurred in Aragón (4.1%), Murcia (2.4%), Valencian Community (2.2%) and Extremadura (1.8%).

To prepare this indicator, the OECD, the German Ifo and, above all, the Japanese Tankan, prepared by the Central Bank of Japan, are taken as a methodological reference.