Survey: State leaders still sour on economy

Alabama business leaders have slightly negative outlook

Alabama business leaders continue to have a negative outlook on the economy, according to the latest quarterly survey by the University of Alabama.

The UA Center for Business and Economic Research’s Alabama Business Confidence Index, taken in early September, remains “slightly negative,” according to the university, similar to the quarter before.

“Panelists are still forecasting worse economic conditions in the U.S. with very strong confidence, in contrast with their more positive expectations for growth in industry hiring, sales and capital expenditures,” said Susannah Robichaux, socioeconomic analyst for CBER.

The latest index was 48.4, up slightly from the previous quarter. An index over 50 indicates a positive forecast, and the closer the number is to 100, the more confident the forecast.

Index information is gathered from a variety of business executives across the state, with six key indicators and a composite index. The six indexes are statewide forecast, national forecast, sales, profits, hiring and capital expenditures.

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The report also breaks down responses from nine industry groups surveyed. The health care and social assistance industry, in contrast to the last two quarters, had a positive outlook, registering a 50.6 index. In the past two quarters, this industry had the most negative outlook out of all sectors.

“Panelists in the industry are optimistic that they will have increased hiring, sales and profits, indicating expectations for a rebound from their two quarters of depressed forecasts,” Robichaux said.

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