Tuesday, November 14, 2017

UIS Economic Outlook Survey finds Sangamon County businesses moderately optimistic about the next year

The Survey Research Office at the University of Illinois Springfield has released the Fall 2017 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey. The study examines the economic perceptions, expectations, and evaluations of Sangamon County employers.

The fall 2017 survey shows that expectations for the economy of Sangamon County have changed little since the fall of 2016, with about a third of respondents in each year expecting things to improve over the next 12 months. Expectations for employment have brightened some, with 32% of 2017 respondents saying they expect job increases compared to 27% in 2016. Two-thirds of respondents expect inflation and interest rates to rise, about the same as a year ago.

Survey respondents’ expectations for their own firms/organizations are somewhat more optimistic than for the economy overall. More than half of those surveyed (55%) say they expect their sales/revenue to increase in the next 12 months. Likewise, 46% expect profitability to rise in the next year, and 50% think the overall status of their businesses/organizations will improve in the coming year. These percentages all show improvement compared to fall 2016, when 49% of respondents expected sales to go up, 45% looked for profitability to increase, and 43% believed the overall status of their firms would get better.

Despite the resolution of Illinois’ budget impasse, the condition of state finances remains the top concern of local employers. Fifty-eight percent identify state government finances as one of the biggest challenges facing them in the next 12 months. Consistent with past surveys, responding employers also see consumer confidence (45%) and government regulations and taxation (40%) as significant challenges during the coming year.

Nearly four in ten employers (39%) indicate that they sell goods and services online. A plurality of respondents (38%) say online competition has not affected their firm’s growth, while another 36% say the effect has been positive and the remaining 27% report a negative effect.

The Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey has been conducted biannually (spring and fall) since 2008. The results for fall 2017 are from 233 local organizations that were contacted in October via mail surveys and email invitations using Qualtrics Research Suite, a platform for online surveys.

The Fall 2017 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey is sponsored by the UIS Chancellor’s Office, the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the methodology and the full report, please visit the UIS Survey Research Office website at www.uis.edu/surveyresearchoffice.

Questions about the survey may be directed to David Racine, acting director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217/206-7956 or draci2@uis.edu.

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