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Quarterly survey results suggest Georgia CEO readers show concerns

The results of the 2017 third quarter (Q3) Georgia CEO survey suggest Georgia business leaders’ confidence levels have shown a slight decline from Q2.

The purpose of the survey is to better understand how general business conditions are impacting Georgia CEO subscribers on a quarterly basis. Georgia CEO partners with the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED), a member of the Georgia Southern University College of Business, to prepare, distribute and analyze the survey.

In Q3 of 2017, survey participants showed a slight decrease in confidence levels due to Hurricane Irma. A larger number of Q3 survey respondents live and work in coastal and rural areas upon which Hurricane Irma had a lingering impact. This is the first time in survey history that weather conditions have been a contributing factor to respondents’ outlook.

With an increase from one percent to 24 percent, respondents confirmed Hurricane Irma was a significant shock to the economic system. Looking ahead to Q4, participants noted about the same level of confidence as is currently exhibited in the Q3 survey responses. Even though confidence levels are down this quarter, they have increased when compared to the same time last year.

“Hurricane Irma did slow hiring in the third quarter, but this drag on confidence should be temporary. Business confidence should continue to increase over time barring other large events,” said Ben McKay, research specialist at BBRED.

When asked directly for their outlook on general business conditions in Georgia going into Q4, 51 percent of survey respondents said they believe the volume of business will decline by two percent from Q2, while 51 percent said they believe sales will see a slight increase.

Looking forward, the survey suggests general business conditions will be relatively unchanged over the next three months. The primary factor influencing these perceptions is weather conditions, reflecting the lingering effects of Hurricane Irma.

Looking to the next quarter, 32 percent of respondents view hiring by their firm as unfavorable, a decrease from 41 percent in the Q2 survey. Participants also expect a decline in their own employment prospects, from 41 percent in Q2 to 34 percent in Q3. The decline in confidence across all but one of the categories is likely attributable to differing geographic concentrations among survey respondents.

A convenience sampling technique was used for this study, and the questionnaire was emailed to subscribers of each of nine Georgia CEO daily newsletters, in addition to being posted on BBRED and Georgia CEO social media platforms. Georgia CEO publishes a newsletter in Albany, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Middle Georgia, Newnan, Savannah and Valdosta. The survey was open from Oct. 1, 2017, through Oct. 27, 2017, with 173 valid responses recorded.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers 118 degree programs serving 20,418 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.

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