The eco brief. Faced with the crisis, how SMEs and VSEs see their activity evolving at the end of the year

An SME specializing in organic products in Carpentras (Vaucluse). Illustrative photo. (HIELY CYRIL / MAXPPP)

This study is very fresh since it was conducted at the end of October. The first conclusion may seem surprising: the shock of the containment is, it seems, ultimately less important than the first containment in the spring. Half (50%) of executives surveyed believe that their level of cash – the money available in their companies’ coffers – is sufficient to weather the crisis. This is not really what you usually hear.

After a recovery this summer, the cash flow of SMEs / VSEs deteriorated with the second epidemic wave. But at the end of October, the situation was less negative than in the spring… What poses the most problem are the investment prospects which are not on the right line. Business leaders manage their cash flow very tightly: 40% of SME managers plan to invest in this fourth quarter against more than 50% last year at the same time. Even if the credit conditions remain easy, there is clearly a lack of confidence on the part of the small bosses.

The tightening of health measures is forcing SMEs / mid-cap companies to postpone, or even cancel, their investment prospects and therefore hiring, which is a brake on growth in the short and medium term. With a very clear conclusion for the job market according to Denis Ferrand, director general of the Rexecode conjuncture institute which conducted the survey with Bpifrance: the rise in unemployment figures next year will be explained less by layoffs only by the fall in hiring. This is one of the most significant elements that will explain the situation in the coming months.

Barometer PME Bpifrance Rex … by Franceinfo

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