PULLMAN, Wash. – While remaining relatively optimistic about key economic indicators, many business executives in the Greater Seattle area say they are selling below cost to stay afloat.
According to a survey conducted by Washington State University and the Seattle Executives Association in the last quarter of 2009, approximately 50 percent of business leaders responding to the survey said they have had to price goods and services below cost to stay in business; 70 percent said they believe their competitors have done the same.
“These conditions underscore the need for businesses to analyze profit in addition to costs to identify where their comparative advantages lie,” said Justin Taylor, economic impact analyst at WSU.
On average, survey respondents reported their sales, inventory, financing and employment were all “stagnant to declining,” according to the survey report generated by the WSU School of Economic Sciences and SEA. In fact, the study shows conditions appear to have deteriorated slightly compared to the previous quarter. However, “for the second quarter in a row, more respondents were positive about key economic indicators than negative,” the report says.
Economic uncertainty continued to be the No. 1 concern of the business leaders surveyed, followed by health care expenses and domestic competition. In response to a question about President Barack Obama’s first year in office, those surveyed gave him a “below average” rating, with the worst marks coming in domestic issues.