Report: Coast businesses more optimistic on economy

Director of research and policy Scott King and the Gulf Coast Business Council Research Foundation have released the quarterly CEO and Business Owners Confidence report for the third quarter 2012.

“Business leaders see a modestly improving Gulf Coast economy,” said Jack Norris, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council. “It will be interesting to conduct the next CEO and Business Owner survey after the national elections.”

Highlights of the study include:

• The overall measure of business confidence on the Mississippi Gulf Coast improved to a measure of 57 in the third quarter, only the fifth time in the last 17 quarters that this level has been achieved. A score of 50 would indicate respondents felt the economy was neither improving nor worsening.

• Looking ahead, roughly half of the respondents (47 percent) believe that the economy will improve over the next six months. In the July survey, only 36 percent of respondents anticipated improving economic conditions. Only 12 percent of respondents believed that the economy would worsen.

• Hiring plans remain relatively stable, with 57 percent of respondents indicating no significant plans to increase or reduce staffing levels. Roughly 22 percent of respondents indicated plans to increase staffing levels. Notably, according the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, the combined Mississippi Gulf Coast has added more than 5,000 establishment jobs over the last twelve months.

• When asked about primary concerns moving forward, the cost to do business was the most prevalent response (40 percent), with roughly a third of respondents expressing concerns about future demand for products and services. Many respondents opted to submit written responses, with the upcoming national election and adverse government regulation being very popular submissions.

The survey was administered Oct. 15-26. Members of the chambers of commerce that serve all three counties of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as well as members of the Gulf Coast Business Council were surveyed. The respondents totaled 155.

This report details information gathered from a survey prepared and administered through a collaboration of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, Orange Grove Chamber of Commerce, Biloxi Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Gulf Coast Business Council Research Foundation.

For the complete report, visit the Gulf Coast Business Council’s website at www.msgcbc.org.

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