Report: Confidence in Coast economy up modestly

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST — Director of research and policy Scott King and the Gulf Coast Business Council Research Foundation has released the quarterly CEO and Business Owners Confidence Report for the first quarter of 2013.

“Confidence in the Gulf Coast’s economy is improving moderately,” said Jack Norris, president of the Gulf Coast Business Council. “This is encouraging but at the same time our CEO’s and business owners have provided insight on issues for the Business Council to monitor, such as the cost of doing business along the Gulf Coast and impending flood insurance changes.”

Some highlights of the study are:

• The overall measure of business confidence on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was 58 in the first quarter of 2013, up one point from the fourth quarter of 2012. A score of 50 would indicate respondents felt the economy was neither improving nor worsening.

• When asked about the current economy – as compared to the previous six months – this specific index achieved a score of 60 for only the fourth time in the last 19 quarters.

• There was improvement with multiple economic indicators including sales tax collections, residential real estate sales and establishment jobs suggesting the Gulf Coast economy was already underway in regards to recovery from the recession.

• One in four respondents indicated plans to hire additional workers within the next six months. 85 percent of respondents indicated either plans to increase staffing levels or maintain their current staffing levels.

• The confidence survey was administered April 15-29. 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 91.

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