State business leaders less optimistic about economy

Freeman Staff

Dec. 21, 2018

MADISON ó While Wisconsinís economy remains strong and the state has low unemployment, a survey by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce found that state business leaders are less optimistic heading into 2019 than one year ago.

The results showed that 84 percent of the 203 business executives surveyed in December rate the Wisconsin economy as strong or very strong, up from 80 percent in June and 70 percent a year ago. Eighty-one percent rate the U.S. economy as strong or very strong, which is unchanged from six months ago.

WMC reported that survey respondents said they like the direction of the U.S. economy but have some concerns about tariffs, health care and labor availability. Eighty-three percent said the U.S. is headed in the right direction, down from 86 percent in June.

According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents plan to hire in the next six months, down from 60 percent six months ago.

Seventy-four percent say they canít find workers, down from 76 percent in June and 80 percent a year ago.

People who responded to the survey were less optimistic about the stateís economic growth. Six months ago, the survey found that 21 percent of the respondents said the Wisconsin economy will see good growth. That number dropped to 14 percent with this monthís survey, with 57 percent saying growth will be moderate and 22 percent saying it will be flat, exactly the same percentages as six month ago.

Of the top concerns for business leaders, the labor shortage is number one with 50 percent of respondents ranking it highest. Heath care is again the number two concern (18 percent) and high taxes is third (9 percent).