Business leaders remain optimistic, with a cautious eye toward the future

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation released the findings of its quarterly business leader’s survey today.  The 2nd Quarter findings of 2019 reveal the following:

  • The statewide Prosperity Pulse measured at 119.6, a small decline from the previous mark of 121.8.
  • Increases in planned capital investments and current job openings, paired with decreases in anticipated profits and overall economic outlook resulted in a minor drop.
  • Unease regarding ongoing trade conflicts with China and the potential for further interest rate changes by the Federal Reserve led to concerns about stability.
  • Optimism remains strong overall at 90%, but falls to an 18-month low.
  • Healthcare costs remain the top concern of Ohio business leaders, while federal regulations and economic uncertainty enter the top five for the first time this year.

Following a strong boost in confidence among Ohio business leaders in the 1st Quarter, the 2nd Quarter saw a slight reduction in the Prosperity Pulse index. We surveyed nearly 400 business leaders across Ohio, with 88% representing firms of under 100 employees, and the results indicate emerging worries among businesses about future economic stability. Hiring remains strong, however, with 84% adding to their payrolls in the second quarter, and a similar percentage planning on additional increases in the next three months.

“While the topline Prosperity Pulse index remains positive, these survey results provide a little bit of a warning about concerns for the future among Ohio businesses,” stated Justin Barnes, Executive Director of the Ohio Chamber Research Foundation. “More businesses reported current job openings, which is an extension of the strong first quarter results, but slightly reduced profit forecasts and a reduction in positive economic outlook point to impacts from the ongoing trade conflict with China and anxiety about possible federal policy changes impacting their operations.”

The Prosperity Pulse index is calculated using five forward looking factors: anticipated profits, anticipated hiring, open/available positions, anticipated capital expenditures and overall business economic outlook. The survey was conducted between 8/5/2019 and 8/20/2019, and 399 responses were received.

To view the report, click here.