Economic engine of the transport industry is running smoothly

Highest levels of order backlog and employment; Skilled labor shortage affects business activity

Economic engine of the transport industry is running smoothly

The Austrian transport industry is in a good mood shortly before the turn of the year: The economic survey conducted by the Federal Transport and Transport Division in the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) for the fourth quarter of 2018 shows very good figures for both demand and employment. Even more than 85 per cent of the surveyed companies describe their order backlog as “at least sufficient” – a new record level in ten years.

A positive picture can also be seen in the assessment of the future prospects – although in some areas there is a very slight cloudiness. For example, while the demand for the next six months is positive, optimism is not quite as strong as in previous economic surveys. Similarly, a majority of respondents expect rising prices, but no longer with a similar increase as last.

“Our survey shows that the economic engine is running smoothly and confidence is still high, but the zenith may have already passed,” says Alexander Klacska, chairman of the WKÖ Federal Transport and Transport division. And he adds: “In order to take the momentum into the coming year, we must therefore provide for bureaucratic relief and take action against the shortage of skilled workers.”

The business survey shows that there is an urgent need for action in the area of skilled labor: for example, a large proportion of companies report that they have recently increased their employment status and also want to hire new employees within the next six months. At the same time, labor shortages continue to be the most common impediment to business activity – more than three out of ten companies are affected.

Alexander Klacska therefore calls for measures to improve the image of the profession. “We have to show that this is a great job, where in most cases you have regular working hours,” says the company’s CEO. In this way, more women for the profession of the driver to be won. In addition, Klacska speaks for a kind of L17 driver’s license for the truck to motivate young people to enter the industry.

“If we succeed in taking effective steps against the shortage of skilled workers and also see digitization as an opportunity, then together with our success in the toll system, we are well prepared for the new year,” says Alexander Klacska.