Birmingham business owners have reason to rejoice – confidence is on the rise in Alabama. The state’s business leaders are showing signs of economic recovery early in the first quarter of the year.
According to The Birmingham News, more than 250 executives surveyed for the Alabama Business Confidence Index have indicated that recovery is around the corner.
A survey showed an increase in confidence of 7.1 points, according to the story. The survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama. Just two years ago, the survey showed numbers at a low of 31.5. Now, those numbers are at a more stable 55. In Birmingham proper, confidence is rising but the economy still has a way to go.
According to the story:
For the metro Birmingham area, this quarter’s business confidence rose 4.3 points to 52.2. More than 42 percent of area executives expect increased sales for their industries.
But that outlook is tempered with caution. The executives forecast modest contractions in profits and capital spending during the quarter, and 58 percent of firms expect no change in payrolls.
As for specific area industries, expectations are mixed. Executives in transportation, information, utilities, finance, insurance, real estate and retail trade are most optimistic, while those in construction, wholesale trade and professional, scientific, technical and other services do not expect better performance this quarter.
The Center for Business and Economic Research notes a recent local wave of development news. For instance, Birmingham officials helped break ground on a new downtown entertainment district and Westin Hotel last week.
“Ongoing developments and a spirit of cooperation are bringing a sense of positive momentum across the Birmingham-Hoover area,” the report reads. “However, the pace of job recovery could be slow and challenges in the real estate sector remain.”
And Birmingham still ranks last for business confidence among the state’s other metro areas. Huntsville area business leaders are most optimistic, with a first quarter index reading of 60.3. Mobile is second, at 58, followed by Montgomery at 53.9.
What will this mean to your business? Are you in the process of hiring or adding resources? Do you see economic improvements ahead? How have you made your way through the challenges of the past few years and what process improvements have you made?
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