Outlook among Tennessee business leaders declined in the last three months, according to results from the latest Tennessee Business Barometer by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.
The latest statewide index, which measures business leaders’ perceptions of the current and future economy, produced a score of 180, down from 287 in January.
“In addition to continuing concerns about staffing and finding qualified employees, business leaders are increasingly worried about inflation and rising costs for health care and energy, economic and political uncertainty, and a potential recession,” noted Tim Graeff, director of the university’s Office of Consumer Research, which oversees the quarterly index.
Nearly twice as many business leaders now view the current economy negatively versus positively. Further, the majority of business leaders now expect the future of the U.S. economy to be “worse,” Graeff added.
However, as has tended to be the trend, Tennessee business leaders remain much more upbeat about the state economy than the overall U.S. economy. But the overall negative outlook could further hinder economic recovery and growth through less spending and investment by businesses, Graeff said.
The barometer dropped this month following a slight improvement in outlook between October 2021 and January (+80), but that was before Russia’s attack of Ukraine in addition to the sustained spikes in gas prices and ongoing supply chain issues in certain sectors.
The current online survey of 83 business leaders from across Tennessee was conducted April 5-13 in partnership with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Find the full Tennessee Business Barometer survey report and previous reports at https://bit.ly/2GZvO7U.
About the Barometer
The Tennessee Business Barometer is an online opinion survey that tracks an overall index and four sub-indices: current outlook, future outlook, business/firm performance and employment outlook. Index scores are calculated from the percentages of positive and negative responses to a series of questions about perceptions of the economy.
The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325, and the next survey is scheduled for July.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)