Companies Survey for the third quarter of 2017—Main Findings
 In some of the surveyed industries, such as construction and hotels, the number of responses was small, and this must be taken into account in examining the findings for those industries.
The net balance of manufacturing industry output is near zero and statistically insignificant, and reflects a decline in domestic demand, in the utilization rate of machinery and equipment, and in the growth of the number of workers. Based on orders for the coming quarter, expectations in the industry are that export sales will stabilize and sales to the domestic market will increase.
The net balance of services industry revenue is positive and statistically significant, signifying expansion of the sales of services in Israel and abroad, and an increase in the total number of employees in Israel. Expectations in the industry are that the increase in orders as a whole will continue and the increase in orders from abroad will expand in the coming quarter.
The decline in sales in the trade industry that was recorded in the previous quarter moderated greatly in the third quarter and the net balance of sales in the third quarter was near zero and statistically insignificant. Expectations in the industry are that sales will increase and the number of employees will decline in the next quarter.
In the other industries, the number of responses was too small for the findings to be statistically valid at the industry level.
An examination of supply and demand constraints finds that in the past year, the shortage of professional workers has intensified in the manufacturing, services, and trade industries, and remained high in the construction industry relative to the other industries. In terms of the financing constraint, its level has been low for a number of years, and it continued to decline in general—and more markedly among medium-sized companies—in the third quarter (Figure 3).
In the third quarter of 2017, the average of companies’ expectations of the inflation rate over the coming 12 months declined to 1.29 percent. The share of companies that expect inflation over the coming 12 months to be within the target range indicating price stability (1–3 percent) also declined, to 67 percent, while the share of companies expecting that inflation will remain below the target range increased, to 30 percent. Expectations regarding the exchange rate continued to decline, to NIS 3.58/$ for the next quarter, and to NIS 3.68/$ for one year from now.
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The findings of the Companies Survey for the third quarter of 2017 are based on the responses of 322 companies and businesses in various industries.
The survey’s questions are qualitative: companies are asked to report the direction of changes in various variables—increase, decline, or stability—and to note the strength of the change—“great” or “slight”.
The Companies Survey data are generally in line with the trends of the macroeconomic data, and the findings’ advantage is in being readily available and providing information rapidly, relative to other sources of data.