University of Mannheim: Survey before the federal election: Despite the upward trend, German companies are still dissatisfied with economic policy

Since the hard lockdown in February 2021, the business situation of companies in Germany has continuously improved and there is an upward trend in sales, profits and investments. This is shown by the current values ​​of the company survey by the German Business Panel for August 2021: sales growth of 5.6 percent and an increase in investments of 5.2 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. Profits are still below the previous year’s level, but the positive trend can also be seen here with an increase of 0.9 percentage points from July to August 2021.

Although the profit and sales situation is developing positively, the majority of the companies surveyed are dissatisfied with German economic policy immediately before the federal election. Compared to a value of 44 percent in July, the level of satisfaction in August fell to just 41 percent. Satisfaction with economic policy is even seven percentage points below satisfaction with corona measures.

With regard to the corona policy, the approval ratings differ greatly depending on the form in which the companies were financially affected by the pandemic. Companies that have been burdened by shop closings or the absence of employees due to school and kindergarten closings are particularly dissatisfied. On the other hand, there is greater satisfaction if the financial burden is due to the obligation to work from home or due to necessary digitization measures. “Many companies see these financial burdens as investments in better working conditions for their employees and greater attractiveness for their customers. In contrast to the closure of shops, schools and kindergartens, this is therefore not negatively attributed to politics, ”summarizes Prof. Dr. Jannis Bischof together.

The data also show that the further improved economic key figures are offset by a renewed increase in the probability of default. The probability of default provides information on how likely entrepreneurs consider it to be that a company in their own sector will cease operations within the next 12 months. Although it fell to a low of 12.6 percent across all sectors in July, it rose again slightly in August, averaging 13.8 percent. The results also show very clear industry differences. For companies in the construction industry that are benefiting from the boom in the real estate market, for example, it is far below the average at just 8.8 percent. At companies Those who were affected by store closings in the course of the lockdowns begun in November and December 2020 and therefore had to struggle with severe cuts, the probability of failure is still significantly higher than the average, at 19.4 percent. “The values ​​show that companies expect further financial consequences of the pandemic and business closings for the autumn,” explains Dr. Davud Rostam-Afshar, head and co-author of the study.

The fact that companies continue to be cautious and want to minimize their corporate risk is also reflected in their planned measures for the next 12 months. The proportion of companies reducing their research and development expenses and dividends rose again in August. In addition, 19.9 percent more companies plan to increase their prices than to lower them (in July the difference was only 17.4 percent).

The GBP monitor: company trends in September 2021 can be found at

GBP company trend information

How has the economic situation in Germany developed since the introduction of the Corona measures in spring 2020 and how satisfied are companies with the political decisions? This is what researchers from the German Business Panel, a sub-project of the Collaborative Research Center “TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency”, from the University of Mannheim regularly examine in their GBP-Monitor: Unternehmenstrends.

To the Collaborative Research Center “Accounting for Transparency”

The Collaborative Research Center (SFB) “TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency” started in July 2019 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for an initial period of four years. It is the first SFB with a business focus. Around 80 scientists from eight universities are involved in the SFB: University of Paderborn (host university), Humboldt University of Berlin and University of Mannheim, as well as researchers from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and ESMT Berlin, Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, and Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. The researchers investigate how accounting and taxation influence the transparency of companies and how regulations and company transparency affect the economy and society. The funding volume of the SFB is around 12 million euros.