Sioux Falls CEO optimism dips in July

By Jodi Schwan

Though still largely positive about economic conditions locally and at their businesses, Sioux Falls CEOs were a little less enthusiastic in July than they were two months earlier.

Sixty area leaders responded to a survey of market conditions produced by SiouxFalls.Business in partnership with the Augustana Research Institute.

Sixty-three percent said conditions at their business were good, while 32 percent said things were excellent. Two months earlier 53 percent said things were good, and 37 percent said they were excellent. The percentage that said conditions were fair, though, dropped to 5 percent from 10 percent two months earlier.

Overall sales activity wasn’t quite as high as in May, though, when 17 percent of CEOs said there had been a significant increase in sales activity in the past two months. That dropped to 5 percent in July. Most leaders – 64 percent – said there had been a slight increase, compared with 49 percent two months earlier.

“Once again, the survey results indicate that the vast majority of area businesses that responded to the survey are thriving and anticipate continuing to do so for at least the balance of the summer season,” said Robert Wright, Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University.

Employers also are reporting more hiring. In July, 53 percent of CEOs said there had been significant or slight increases in hiring in the past two months, compared with 42 percent in May. Forty-four percent reported no change, compared with 49 percent in May.

“Stability of the local policy environment, combined with largely encouraging leading economic indicators, also combined to induce three out of four respondents to make at least slight capital improvements over the last two months, an encouraging sign for future productivity growth,” Wright added.

When asked about their expectations for business activity at their organization in the next two months, 39 percent of CEOs thought it would be above average, compared with 55 percent in May. Fifty-eight percent thought it would be average, up from 42 percent two months earlier. Three percent said it would be below average, the same as in May.

Local CEOs also continue to have a more positive perception of the local economy compared with the national economy, with 29 percent saying the local economy is excellent compared with 3 percent that said the national economy was excellent. Twenty-seven percent said the local economy was good, while 38 percent said the national economy was good. Three percent said the local economy was fair, and 16 percent said the national economy was fair.

“Local inflation remained muted despite a low level of unemployment,” Wright said. “Output levels and business climate outlook remain better locally than nationally, likely due to the relative instability of national economic policy-making at present.”

Sioux Falls CEO optimism dips in July

Though still largely positive about economic conditions locally and at their businesses, Sioux Falls CEOs were a little less enthusiastic in July than they were two months earlier.

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