PULLMAN, Wash. – Business executives in the greater Seattle area were more optimistic during the second quarter of this year than they were the previous two quarters and predict the nation’s economic recession will end by mid-2010, according to a recent survey by Washington State University and the Seattle Executives Association.
The survey is a cooperative effort between the WSU School of Economic Sciences’ IMPACT Center and SEA. Results gathered through July 31 this year constitute the fifth quarterly survey conducted with the 120 executives who are members of SEA. They represent a variety of industries in the area and lead small- to medium-sized businesses.
Current business conditions in Seattle’s economy did not improve markedly from first quarter of 2009; survey participants said that during the past three months their companies’ sales, inventory and number of employees declined slightly. They also said that during that time they “found it somewhat more difficult to finance capital expenditures.”
“Despite the negative economic reports, business leaders are less pessimistic than they have been for the last two quarters,” said Justin Taylor, economic impact analyst in WSU’s IMPACT Center. “This rise was led by improvements in business’ gross sales during the quarter.”
The majority of respondents predicted the economic recession would last another year, ending sometime in mid-2010.
Uncertainty about the economy was the No. 1 business concern for the future for the survey respondents. Taylor said two different facets of that issue arose in the survey results. While the majority were concerned about general economic recovery, another segment of those surveyed are worried about growing their business in a time of uncertainty.
“The first group was dominated by comments about relying on external forces such as consumer confidence to increase and thereby improve their situation” he said. “The second group was focused on internal issues, such as product development and customer loyalty,that they needed to alter to prosper in uncertain times.”
Health care expenses and the availability of financing were the next two concerns listed by the survey respondents. They were almost equally split between approval and disapproval of the federal government’s proposed plan for national health care; approximately 30 percent said that a new payroll tax should be used to pay for the plan should it be adopted.
A copy of the full survey results is available at http://bit.ly/WYA6D.