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Economic sentiment boosted at year’s end by strong performance and trade agreements.

March 5, 2020

COLUMBUS, OH –The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation released the findings of its quarterly business leader’s survey today.  The 4th Quarter findings of 2019 reveal the following:

  • The statewide Prosperity Pulse measured at 118.0, an improvement from the 3rd Quarter index of 106.8.
  • Increases in expected profits, job openings and overall economic outlook resulted in the 4th highest measurement in survey history, due in part to reaching an agreement on and the enactment of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
  • Optimism rebounded to 90%, falling roughly in line with the average over the past two years.
  • Healthcare costs and employee benefits costs remain the top two issues of concern, while workforce concerns rose to the third spot, with state and local taxes falling to fifth position.

The Prosperity Pulse index rebounded in the 4th Quarter on the back of a strong close to the year followed by eased concerns over international trade after the enactment of the USMCA trade agreement. We surveyed over 400 business leaders across Ohio and the results reflect improved economic sentiment and outlook at the start of 2020. Just over one in three (37%) respondents signaled that their business expected increased profits, while one in four indicated they had current job openings at their companies.

“While the markets are figuring out how to determine and respond to the impact of the coronavirus over the past two weeks, the latest Prosperity Pulse survey signals positive economic sentiment for 2020,” stated Justin Barnes, Executive Director of the Ohio Chamber Research Foundation. “For example, the proportion of business leaders who indicated they are very concerned about international trade dropped by over 70 percent, thanks to the enactment of the USMCA. As global supply chains resume operations, business leaders in Ohio believe they will benefit substantially from the new agreement.”

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 in January-February 2020, and 406 responses were received.

4th Quarter Summary

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