Sioux Falls CEOs feeling more optimistic headed into 2018

Sioux Falls CEOs feel considerably better about the state of their businesses and the economy than they did two months ago.

About 50 area top executives responded to a bimonthly survey conducted by SiouxFalls.Business and the Augustana Research Institute. Forty-nine percent said overall business conditions at their organization are excellent, up from 30 percent in September.

There was a similar jump in how the CEOs rated overall business conditions in Sioux Falls, with 63 percent rating them as excellent compared with 33 percent two months prior.

“Expectations remain extremely sanguine, as all respondents expect business activity to be at least average over the next two months and nine out of 10 expect to make capital expenditures. An even higher percentage expect to add workers,” said Robert Wright, the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University.

Twenty-three percent of CEOs said they expect above-average hiring activity in the next two months, up from 13 percent who said above-average hiring was expected in September.

“Unsurprisingly, three in five respondents indicated that they had made new hires in the last two months while fewer than one in 10 discharged workers on net,” Wright said. “Three in four respondents overall, and almost all respondents from firms with 100 or more employees, also reported making capital purchases in the last two months, an improvement over the September survey.”

While a few respondents indicated a significant increase in prices for their products, a few also responded they have slightly decreased, while the majority reported no change or a slight increase, “which is what one would expect given the continued low rate of inflation and no major local economic shocks,” Wright said.

When it comes to the national economy, business leaders aren’t as positive, but they are feeling better about it. One in five rated the national economy as only fair, which is better than the two in five who said it was fair or poor in September.

“Improvements in the national economy should help local businesses, especially those that sell a large percentage of their products to out-of-state customers,” Wright said.

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Sioux Falls CEOs feeling more optimistic headed into 2018

Sioux Falls CEOs are feeling more upbeat about conditions in their businesses heading into 2018. Here’s a look at our bimonthly CEO survey in partnership with Augustana University.

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