Eastside business leaders are the most optimistic they have been since 2006, according to a survey released this morning at the Bellevue Chamber’s 2012 Economic Forecast Breakfast. Sixty percent of respondents were more optimistic about the general outlook while 83 percent said the Puget Sound economy will expand, up nearly 12 percent compared with last year. Yet that doesn’t necessarily translate into new hiring.
Among sectors, construction was the brightest, with eight in 10 respondents optimistic, followed closely by real estate, rental and leasing. Some 71 percent of respondents in IT and technology were more optimistic. Only 38 percent in retail/trade were as positive about the year ahead.
Asked about their own companies, nearly 70 percent expect revenues will be higher than in 2011; 22 percent stated revenue will at least hold steady. As for hiring, 41 percent said they intend to add employees next year, especially in marketing and sales, administration and industry/technical specialists (so much for my degree in history). Most are in companies of between 11 and 250 employees.
The survey listed the top local challenges as: “regional economic climate,” employee benefits and healthcare costs, generating revenue and business taxation and regulation. Behind the optimism is a rise in building permits, single-family house prices and employment. It’s expected that Washington will recover slightly faster than the U.S. Still, the slow pace of recover is expected to continue.
You can download the entire survey and forecast here.
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Today’s Econ Haiku:
It’s not hot outside
Europe gets a double dip
And licks its wounds cold