Utah executives report increasing optimism about future economy

The Salt Lake Chamber released the first-quarter results of the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2018 CEOutlook survey.

The Salt Lake Chamber’s CEOutlook is a new statewide economic survey of Utah business executives. As an authoritative business survey on economic sentiment in Utah, this quarterly survey seeks to provide a forward-looking view of the Utah economy. While the survey is still in its early phases, the results could help business and community leaders make informed decisions about likely future economic conditions. These and other survey results will be tracked and compared to overall economic conditions to assess the predictive power of the CEOutlook.

“We now have five quarters of survey results from Utah executives and we’re seeing that their optimism about Utah’s economy continues to grow,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “During this first quarter of 2018, we saw the CEOutlook Confidence Index rise from 60.63 to 62.36, a reversal of several quarters of decline. This rise is a welcome sign that business leaders’ already strong confidence about the Utah economy is increasing.”

According to the first-quarter 2018 CEOutlook survey, 55% of executives believe Utah’s economy is somewhat or significantly better than just six months ago. The study also shows Utah executives have a positive outlook about Utah’s future economy. 52% feel that economic conditions in Utah will be somewhat better in the next six months—a 7% jump from last quarter. And for the first time since the CEOutlook survey was conducted, a majority of executives are more optimistic about their own industry growth than that of Utah’s future economy with 55% reporting that their industry will perform somewhat better six months from now. Factors that executives believe could have a negative impact on Utah’s economy include the tight labor market, increasing housing prices, rising interest rates and the recent actions on trade and tariffs.

“The CEOutlook survey and confidence index confirms Utah business leaders see economic positives and negatives. Overall, sentiment is strong, but based on their comments, Utah leaders are also paying close attention,” explained Natalie Gochnour, director of Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber. “They recognize these are prosperous times, but also see the risks of an overheating economy. There is a potential dark side to the fiscal stimulus once it fades and the ill effects of higher interest rates take hold.”

To view the full Q1 report and to learn more about the CEOutlook, go to: http://slchamber.com/ceoutlook/