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With just a touch of workforce bitters

The glass is more than half full. With the economy thriving,  Georgia businesses are expressing strong optimism across a spectrum of business factors, according to the third quarter Georgia CEO/CBAER Business Confidence Survey. The level of business confidence dipped only slightly from previous quarters, but an increasing number of survey respondents are expressing concerns about the quality and quantity of available labor.

Business Conditions Graph

Current business conditions and expectations for the third quarter remain positive. Over 80% of respondents indicate that second quarter results were better than during the first quarter of 2018. Most expect the positive trend to continue, but an increasing number of Georgia businesses reported declining results for Q2 or the expectations of increased difficulties over the summer months.

CBAER August Report Graph

The survey measures business attitudes across 7 categories: Volume of business, sales, hiring, employment, financial health, profitability, and access to capital. Expectations in all categories increased slightly from Q2, but remain lower than first quarter sentiments, which were very high, likely influenced by the tax reform bill passed in December 2017.

CBAER Economic ChartBusinesses indicated a lower level of confidence in both their ability to hire and future levels of employment. 24% reported fewer hires in Quarter 2, up from 18% in the same period of 2017. 33% reported increased hiring, down from 42% in Q2 2017. Comments from participants indicate increased skepticism about the availability of qualified workers. Respondents reported that it has become “harder to find good employees” and speculated that the “labor pool is getting smaller.”

Other Q3 Survey Results Include

  • Expectations for business volume dropped by about 13 percent from April to July.
  • 48 percent of the sample noted that increasing demand or government policy are the primary grounds for their optimism.
  • The decline in optimism is slight. When asked directly about general business conditions, 54 percent see conditions improving, and 39 percent view conditions as unchanged. That’s only a 6 percent decrease in the number of participants that view business condition as positive when compared the previous quarter’s survey.

The quarterly survey gauges responses from subscribers to the Georgia CEO newsletter. Conducted by Georgia Southern University’s Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research, the Q2 report included responses from 209 small and large Georgia businesses in all areas of the state.


Third Quarter Business Confidence Survey, Georgia Southern University Center for Business Analytics and Economic Research, 8/9/18