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Tennessee Business Barometer: Anxiety growing in new year

Tennessee business leaders have grown increasingly anxious about the current economy and their ability to find qualified workers, according to the latest online survey by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

The statewide Tennessee Business Barometer index declined significantly to 146 from 243 in October 2015. 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.

Dr. Tim Graeff

Dr. Tim Graeff

The latest survey shows growing pessimism about the future of the overall U.S. and Tennessee economies, according to Dr. Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index.

“Economic unease is beginning to hit even closer to home as business leaders have also become more anxious about the economic conditions for their industry and their individual firm,” Graeff said. “This is coupled with continued pessimism regarding the employment outlook.”

The latest results are based on a 17-question online survey submitted by 115 business leaders throughout the state Jan. 12-19. The margin of error is 9.1 percent.

The index score is computed by adding the percentage of positive responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses. Respondents included business owners, vice presidents, senior managers and managers at firms of various sizes.

This chart shows the latest results from the Tennessee Business Barometer online survey. (Source: Office of Consumer Research, MTSU)

This chart shows the latest results from the Tennessee Business Barometer online survey. (Source: Office of Consumer Research, MTSU)

A PDF copy of the full report is available here. Previous reports are available through the MTSU Office of Consumer Research’s website at www.mtsu.edu/consumer.

The barometer was launched in the summer of 2015. MTSU and the Tennessee Chamber will track the index over time to identify patterns in the assessments of Tennessee business leaders about the business climate, similar to national consumer confidence surveys.

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 or call 615-256-5141.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)