Tennessee Business Barometer Index rising on better future economic outlook

The Tennessee Business Barometer Index shows an improved future economic outlook among Tennessee business leaders, according to the latest online survey by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

The quarterly index rose to 177 this month, up from 153 in July and 144 in April.

The overall index score is totaled from four sub-indices measured in the 17-question survey: current economic situation, future economic expectations, business/firm performance and employment outlook.

The latest survey showed that while perceptions of the current economy dipped slightly, business performance outlook remained steady, and the Future Expectations Index rose significantly (from -2 to 25). Business leaders remain concerned about being able to find enough qualified employees.

“Optimism about the future of the economy can lead to increased investments and hiring, which can have subsequent positive effects leading to growth in the overall economy,” said Dr. Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index through the Jones College’s Office of Consumer Research.

The quarterly index is a collaboration between Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry to capture the mood and outlook of business leaders. The index is computed by adding the percentage of positive responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses. The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325.

As with the Consumer Outlook Index conducted by Graeff’s office last month, the latest Business Barometer survey also asked questions about the top two presidential candidates and respondents again showed a clear preference for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Asked which candidate would have the most positive impact on the U.S. economy if elected, 71 percent chose Trump, 12 percent chose Clinton, while 7 percent said the impact would be the same and 10 percent were unsure.

The current online survey of 73 business leaders from across Tennessee was conducted Oct. 1-10. The margin of error is 11.4 percent. Respondents included business owners, vice presidents, senior managers, and managers at firms of various sizes.  The next Tennessee Business Barometer survey is planned for January 2017.

Find the full report and previous reports at http://www.mtsu.edu/consumer/reportsbarometer.php. For more information about the MTSU Office of Consumer Research, visit www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or [email protected]. For more information about the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visit www.tnchamber.org.