Local business leaders’ positive outlook continues

The second quarter 2012 Charlotte Business Confidence Index report, released April 2, shows Mecklenburg County business leaders' optimism about economic prospects in the second quarter improved compared to their expectations for the first quarter 2012. The overall index value of 58.8, an increase of 4.2 points compared to the first quarter, continues an upswing of business confidence, with the index above 50 for the second consecutive quarter after posting negative expectations for the first time in the fourth quarter 2011.

Index values higher than 50 indicate positive expectations; values less than 50 indicate negative expectations. The index provides an early indicator of future economic activity in Mecklenburg County by surveying business leaders about national and local economic expectations as well as their company’s expectations regarding sales, profits, hiring and capital spending. The survey, asking about expectations for the second quarter 2012, took place the first two weeks of March.

The index is a collaborative effort between Charlotte Works and the City of Charlotte, with research and analysis by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Modeled after successful confidence index initiatives in Colorado and Alabama, the Charlotte Business Confidence Index helps city leaders plan for economic development initiatives and provide forward-looking data concerning possible business expansion or contraction. 

The results of the second quarter survey show that business leaders have a renewed positive outlook on the national economy after three consecutive quarters of negative expectations. The survey recorded positive expectations for all of the six component questions that contribute to the overall index. As the table shows, all but one of the second quarter index values posted an increase; hiring expectations declined slightly, by 1.6 points. The national economic outlook index recorded a value of 58.0, representing the largest increase among all index values, increasing 11.3 points from the first quarter. 

With an index value of 59.5, business leaders continue to be confident about the local economy. Business leaders have the highest expectations for sales, with a sales index value of 64.0. Following close with the sales index value, their outlook on profits is also positive, with an index value of 61.5. Hiring and capital expenditures both reported a positive index value of 55.0.

Participation in the index is open to all businesses in Mecklenburg County, who must first register to receive quarterly invitations to complete the survey. For classification and verification purposes, the registration asks for company information concerning business type, revenue and employment size. The next survey for the third quarter 2012 will take place the first two weeks of June.

To see a copy of the full report from the second quarter, click the link below. For more information about the Charlotte Business Confidence Index, its methodology and how business leaders can register to participate, go to http://ui.uncc.edu/businessconfidence.

To read the 2012 second quarter report: Download PDF

Jonathan Kozar