The commercial sector is counting on the Christmas season to give the economy a boost.
The boost appears to be needed because confidence of business people is at a three-year low, according to a survey by the Cámara de Comercio de Costa Rica. The results of the survey, reflecting hopes and aspirations past the end of 2013, were released Tuesday.
The chamber cited data from the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social that showed the commercial sector had lost 1,644 jobs so far this year.
The survey considered four variables, the economy, the respondent’s firm, employment and sales, based on the results of the last six months and the hopes for the next six months.
Francisco Llobet, chamber president, said that despite the results, the organization believes that increased sales over Christmas will raise the overall level of confidence.
The survey showed that only 19 percent of the firms surveyed plan to increase their investments in the short term. And those that said they would do so are the larger companies, according to the survey.
Some 23 percent of the firms said they would reduce the workforce, compared to 18 percent that plan increases in employees.
The employer lack of confidence appears to stem from the assessment of the current state of the economy and a perception that exports are slowing down, said the chamber.