Thirty per cent of firms expect their own activity to fall over the coming year and only 24 per cent expect it to increase, according to a National Bank survey.
Bankruptcies are on course to rise 20 per cent this year.
The Insolvency and Trustees website shows 1311 people were made bankrupt in the first four months of 2008.
That gives a projected total of 3933 for the year, a big jump from 3317 in 2007 and about double the number in 2001.
Is economic recession likely in 2008? Here is the latest selection of Your Views: