MMAC survey shows Milwaukee businesses are optimistic for 2Q

Special to The Freeman

April 15, 2014

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee area businesses are feeling pretty optimistic toward 2014’s second quarter, according to a Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Seventy-two percent of businesses surveyed expect to see sales increases in 2014’s second quarter, 57 percent expect profit increases, and over 40 percent predict job gains in the new quarter.

“Quarterly sales optimism among area businesses improved for the fourth time in the past
five quarters, from a post-recession low of 49 percent in 2013’s first quarter to the current 72 percent,” said Bret Mayborne, MMAC’s economic research director. “While sales expectations are at levels expected in a solid growth environment, the levels of optimism expressed on profits and employment are a bit more tepid.”

Non-manufacturers are particularly optimistic about future sales levels, the survey showed. Seventy-five percent of non-manufacturers surveyed see improved real sales levels in 2014’s second quarter. That’s seven percentage points higher than the level of optimism expressed by manufacturers at 68 percent.

According to the survey, 72 percent of those surveyed expect to see second-quarter real sales gains, 9 percent will see sales declines, and 19 percent expect no change.

Profit forecasts remain rather modest, according to a MMAC statement. Fifty-seven percent of all Milwaukee-area businesses expect to see higher profits in 2014’s second quarter, up from the 54 percent who forecast first-quarter 2014 profit gains. Currently, 13 percent predict profit declines, while 30 percent see no change.

The Business Outlook Survey contains responses from 123 Milwaukee-area firms, both large and small, employing more than 44,350 people.