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Horizon Council and FGCU Release First Quarter 2013 Lee County Business Climate Survey Report
2/20/2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The results from the First Quarter 2013 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 605 business executives in Lee County and the results are based on responses from 95 executives resulting in a 16 percent response rate.

The survey provides a key new economic indicator for Lee County, the Executive Business Climate Index. The first quarter survey (January 2013) value for the Lee County Executive Business Climate Index is 66, which indicates expected continued improvement in the local economy. The executives' optimism has not changed since the last survey in October 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 first quarter of 2013 are:

     The Lee County Business Climate Index for first quarter 2013 is 66, the same as fourth quarter 2012, indicating expected improvement in the local economy;

     66 percent of executives stated that the current economic conditions have improved over last year;

     72 percent of the executives expect the economy to improve over next year;

     54 percent of the executives stated that the current economic conditions for their industry have improved over last year, while 34 percent stated that economic conditions remained approximately the same;

     64 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 and 11 percent had reduced employment;

     44 percent of executives expect to increase employment at their companies during the next year while only nine percent expect to reduce employment;

     52 percent of companies expect to increase investment next year and only six percent expect to reduce their investment levels;

     Positions that executives expect to hire over the next year include account and customer service representatives, electricians, engineers, equipment operators, machinists, factory/warehouse staff, insurance agents, information technology - programmers, web designers, application support and development, marketing, management, registered nurses, and skilled trade positions;

     The executives indicated that they need employees with the following skills: analytical, critical thinking, computer and programming, customer service, interpersonal, communication, leadership, listening, machine operator skills, multi-tasking, networking, problem solving, reading comprehension, time management, sales, web design, and writing;

     The employee characteristics identified included adaptable, attentive, communicator, dependable, entrepreneurial, ethics, forward thinking, honest, independent, integrity, motivated, solid work ethic, teachable, team player, and timely;

     Critical positions and occupations the executives indicated to have trouble filling included account representatives, CNC robotic technicians and programmers, customer service, electricians, IT professionals (including computer support, programming, application software, networks, and web design), sales, marketing, and skilled trades;

     26 percent of executives indicated that the best recruiting method is networking with existing personnel and 24 percent indicated internet job websites;

     The geographic client market had 25 percent of firms serving international markets and 33 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 further information, media representatives should contact Gary Jackson, director, FGCU Regional Economic Research Institute at (239) 590-7319.

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