Collier EBCS: Fourth Quarter 2022 Report
The national economic scenario continues to present a blurred picture. In an effort to stabilize inflation, the Federal Reserve increased the federal funds rate by 0.75 basis points in November 2022, representing the highest level since January 2008. There is still some debate among economists as to whether this will produce a recession. While the housing market has been cooling down, consumers continue to maintain their expenditure level.
In this last quarter, Collier County had to face an unfortunate reality when it comes to living in Florida. Hurricane Ian ravaged the county and much of Southwest Florida in late September 2022, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Parts of the county were without utilities such as water and electricity for multiple days. From our special topic session, while many businesses reported a disruption in their operations due to Hurricane Ian, most of the firms reported the disruption lasting only a week. As of the survey completion date, 100 percent of the businesses surveyed were back on track. The major issues experienced were lack of electricity and internet services. Fewer than ten percent of the firms experienced problems with other resources such as capital, labor, fuel and transportation. On a positive note, none of the survey respondents indicated plans of relocating their operations from Collier County.
As Southwest Florida starts to rebuild, Collier County businesses are mostly back on track and ready for the season time with the lesser Covid-19 restrictions so far. This is reflected on our survey. The Executive Business Climate Index (EBCI), a value that measures and gauges the current business climate in Collier County, peaked in the second quarter of 2021 at 73.5 but had since declined in each subsequent quarter until now, took a slight turn upward. Although the index for Current Economic Conditions fell in the fourth quarter, the index for both future economic and industry conditions rose. According to this fourth quarter survey, close to half of the respondents in Collier County plan to increase employment over the next year. Additionally, there is some optimism about future economic conditions as 42 percent of the respondents indicated that economic conditions would improve in a year.
We would like to thank all of the executives that participated in our survey. Without your continued feedback each quarter, our surveys would not be possible. Furthermore, we would also like to thank our sponsors, Collier County Government and the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, for helping make the survey happen.