Businesses finding economic recovery slow, but expect revenues to rise
By Frank Norton
Businesses in Miami-Dade County expect more revenues this year than 2001, a Beacon Council survey indicates, with employment modestly higher.
The snapshot of business sentiment tallied responses from 150 representatives of randomly selected firms on expectations for sales, employment and regional economic recovery.
Findings show 33% find recovery slower than they estimated back in December, with 12% saying business has actually worsened.
Conversely, 30% find recovery stronger than estimated, while 25% say it's about the same.
Beacon Council Research Director John Cordrey says the survey, conducted this spring, indicates a lack of clarity on recovery both countywide and nationally. "It's a mixed message that doesn't point too far one way or the other."
He said poor stock performance darkens perceptions but persistent low interest rates reassure consumers and business.
While the biggest cluster of respondents, 41%, cited sales below or far below corresponding 2001 levels, 44% expect to close the year with higher revenues than in 2001.
Dr. Cordrey attributed those forecasts to continued strong consumer confidence and the perception that business and health services will grow along with the number of retiring baby-boomers.
Of the same pool, 27% think year-end sales will fall. Dr. Cordrey said political and economic turmoil has hurt the prospect for renewed growth in trade while an expected fall-off in demand has tempered growth expectations for construction.
As for jobs, 28% employ fewer people than at the end of 2001 with 25% adding jobs.
Combining data, 81% predicted they will employ as many or more workers by year-end than a year earlier.
"The CEOs we've talked with indicate they're beginning to look at hiring more people," Dr. Cordrey said, especially in retail and health and business services.