Utah executives have strong, but declining sentiment on state’s economic future

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

The Salt Lake Chamber’s CEOutlook is a 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 that can offer business and community leaders information to help them make informed decisions about likely future economic conditions.

“This quarter, the Salt Lake Chamber’s CEOutlook Confidence Index declined from 62.32 in the last quarter to 60.89, primarily because only 34% of executives, the fewest number in the surveys short history, are anticipating improving economic conditions in the next six months,” said Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “So what’s behind this shift? Business leaders are concerned about our ability to find qualified talent, reasonably priced housing for their employees and the disruptions to global trade—and the risk these issues are to our state’s economy.”

According to the third-quarter 2018 CEOutlook survey, overall executives had a strong, but declining sentiment on Utah’s economic future. 41% of executives believe Utah’s economy is somewhat better than just six months ago. The study also shows Utah executives are apprehensive about Utah’s future economy changing much—only 28% feel that economic conditions in Utah will be somewhat better in the next six months. Additionally, a majority of executives are optimistic about their firm’s profitability with 68% reporting that their profits will increase moderately or considerably in the next twelve months. Factors that executives believe could have a negative impact on Utah’s economy include trade wars, the tight labor market, and increasing housing prices.

“In many ways, the Utah economy mirrors the national economy. Both economies are in a long expansion with strong job growth, low unemployment, and intensifying wage and price pressures. All of this is occurring coincident with monetary tightening and rising interest rates,” explained Natalie Gochnour, director of Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber. “I encourage business leaders to monitor economic conditions closely. The economic turning point may be six months or 24 months away. Either way, businesses that manage costs, invest in long-term success, and save for a rainy day will be most successful.”

To view the full Q3 report and to learn more about the CEOutlook, go to: https://slchamber.com/ceoutlook/