Horizon Council, FGCU Release Third Quarter Lee County Business Climate Survey Report
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The results from the Third Quarter Horizon Council FGCU Lee County Executive Business Climate Survey have been released. This survey will be completed each quarter and provide insights into our Lee County economy and expected economic trends. The survey was sent to 498 business executives in Lee County and the results are based on responses from 101 executives resulting in a 20 percent response rate.
The survey provides a key new economic indicator for Lee County, the Executive Business Climate Index. The third quarter survey (July 2012) value for the Lee County Executive Business Climate Index is 62, which indicates expected continued improvement in the local economy. The executives are less optimistic than the last survey which had an index value of 69 in April 2012. The index value can range from 0 to 100. An index number of 50 would be neutral or an expectation of no change in economic activity. Therefore, this quarter's index says that economic activity in Lee County is expected to improve but at a less than moderate growth pace. The index is computed using the two questions concerning the current and future economic conditions and a third question about the expected industry economic conditions. The index is an average of the responses with substantially better equal to 100, moderately better equal to 75, same equal to 50, moderately worse equal to 25 and substantially worse equal to zero.
The key findings of the Executive Climate Survey for the second quarter of 2012 are:
• The Lee County Business Climate Index declined from 69 for the second quarter survey (April 2012) to 62 for the third quarter survey (July 2012);
• 54 percent of executives stated that the current economic conditions have improved over last year;
• 61 percent of the executives expect the economy to improve over the next year;
• 47 percent of the executives stated that the current economic conditions for their industry have improved over last year but 39 percent stated that economic conditions remained approximately the same;
• 56 percent of executives expect economic conditions for their industry to improve over the next year;
• 36 percent of executives had increased employment over the last year, while 13 percent had reduced employment;
• 39 percent of executives expect to increase employment at their companies during the next year, and while four percent of executives expect to reduce employment;
• 45 percent of companies expect to increase investment next year and only three percent expect to reduce their investment levels;
• 58 percent of executives expect the "Affordable Health Care Law" to have a moderate or substantial impact on their operations and costs. Twenty-seven percent where unclear on the impact, while 15 percent indicated that they expect little impact on their business operations and costs.
• 36 percent of companies offer a wellness program or initiative aimed at improving employee health. These programs typically include smoking cessation classes and assistance, memberships to health clubs and gyms, wellness examinations, health fairs, flexible hours to allow employees to exercise, and health education.
• Executives provided a range of comments, suggestions, and recommendations about the regional economy and their businesses. There continue to be concerns over lack of bank lending, taxes, regulation, education, healthcare, and a suggestion to expand the business climate survey to the region.
• The geographic client market had 28 percent of firms serving international markets and 43 percent serving the U.S. market.
About Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University is dedicated to providing a student-centered learning environment that offers the highest quality educational opportunities for the development of the knowledge, insights, competencies, and skills necessary for success in life and work. Call us at 1-800-590-3428 or visit our website at www.fgcu.edu.
About Fort Myers Regional Partnership
The Fort Myers Regional Partnership works to attract new and diversified businesses resulting in high-wage, high-skilled jobs; retains and encourages the expansion of existing businesses and improves the overall business environment.
The Partnership continues to promote and build the region through ongoing efforts from its proactive team of domestic and international recruiters, research staff and community liaisons, as well as through its partnerships with the Horizon Foundation, the Horizon Council and the Lee County Industrial Development Authority.
For more information visit www.FortMyersRegionalPartnership.com.
For more information, media representatives should contact Gary Jackson, Director, Regional Economic Research Institute at (239) 590-7319.