First Quarter 2017 VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey Results Released (Jan. 2017)
The VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey for the fourth quarter of 2016/first quarter of 2017 has been released. Most responses to the question about the state’s overall business climate outlook were positive (46%). The remaining responses were split between neutral (32%) and negative (22%). More than 50 percent of respondents (51%) shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions, compared to 60% in the previous survey. The construction sector had the most optimistic outlook on the general business climate, while the health care sector had the least optimistic outlook. Compared to the national Business Roundtable CEO Survey, Vermont companies are predicting higher capital spending plans, and a slightly more positive employment outlook than their national counterparts.
For this reporting period, the diffusion index shows a increase in optimism from Q4 2016 to Q1 2017, indicating that Vermont CEOs continue to feel more optimistic about the business climate for the coming three months. Vermont’s outlook appears to now be on an “improvement” trend given the responses from this and the previous survey, yet continues to demonstrate that economic conditions overall remain somewhat fragile in many areas of the State and in some parts of Vermont economy.
The Business Conditions Survey is conducted in partnership between the Vermont Business Roundtable and Economic & Policy Resources. The nine question survey of the 97 members of the Vermont Business Roundtable captures a glimpse of how Vermont business leaders see the state economy. The survey asks business leaders how their businesses have fared in the recent past and how they view the future. Sentiments regarding the current and expected business climate and the expected impact on hiring and investing decisions are also surveyed. Included in the standard survey is a question asking roundtable members for opinions on a current debate in public policy. Along with providing a snapshot of the Vermont business climate, the survey allows Vermonters to see how these markers change over time.
The press release is available as a PDF below.