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Latest Tennessee Business Barometer shows pessimism stabilizing

Tennessee business leaders’ pessimism about the current economy appear to be stabilizing, though their outlook for the future isn’t strong, according to the latest online survey by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

The statewide Tennessee Business Barometer index remained stable in April, registering 144 compared to 146 in January and 325 for the inaugural survey last July. The quarterly index is a collaboration between Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry to capture the mood and outlook of business leaders through online surveys.

This chart shows the results of the quarterly Tennessee Business Barometer's overall index and sub-indices since July 2015. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

This chart shows the results of the quarterly Tennessee Business Barometer’s overall index and sub-indices since July 2015. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

While business leaders showed more optimism about their current situations in the latest survey, that was offset by a drop in confidence in the future economy as well as the ability for their own business to prosper and grow, according to Dr. Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index through the MTSU Office of Consumer Research.

“Business leaders are more upbeat about the Tennessee economy than they are about the overall national economy,” Graeff noted.

The survey showed concerns about rising health care costs, political and economic uncertainty, difficulties with finding qualified employees, and the potential for increasing regulation remain foremost on the minds of business leaders.

TN Barometer square graphic-newThe index is computed by adding the percentage of positive responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses. The overall index score is totaled from four sub-indices: current economic situation, future economic expectations, business/firm performance and employment outlook.

A pdf copy of the full report is available at http://bit.ly/tbbapr16. Previous reports are available through the MTSU Office of Consumer Research’s website at www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

The current online survey of 83 business leaders from across Tennessee was conducted between April 1 and April 16. The margin of error is 10.7 percent. Respondents include business owners, vice presidents, senior managers, and managers at firms of various sizes. The next Tennessee Business Barometer survey is planned for July 2016.

For more information, contact Graeff at 615-898-5124 or tim.graeff@mtsu.edu. For more information about the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, visit www.tnchamber.org.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

This graph shows how the quarterly Tennessee Business Barometer's overall index and sub-indices have trended since July 2015. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

This graph shows how the quarterly Tennessee Business Barometer’s overall index and sub-indices have trended since July 2015. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)