Tenn. Business Barometer: Outlook rebounds from su...

Tenn. Business Barometer: Outlook rebounds from summer dip

The Tennessee Business Barometer rebounded from its brief decline earlier this summer, according to the latest snapshot of business leaders’ opinions as measured by MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

The Tennessee Business Barometer Index now stands at 525, up from 479 in July. Find the full survey report and previous reports at

Dr. Tim Graeff, marketing professor

Dr. Tim Graeff

“While this is an improvement in outlook, the index is below where it was this same time last year,” according to Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index through the Jones College’s Office of Consumer Research.

“Even though perceptions of the current economic situation dipped slightly and perceptions regarding employment and staffing remained unchanged, business leaders were noticeably more upbeat about the future of the economy and the outlook for their individual firms/businesses.”

Fully 82 percent of respondents said economic conditions in the U.S. are “good,” whereas none said they are “bad.”  Moreover, 90 percent said economic conditions in Tennessee are “good,” while only 2 percent said they are “bad.”

“On balance, Tennessee business leaders are significantly more positive than negative when it comes to their outlook for the future,” Graeff noted.

Other highlights:

  • Trump:When asked about recent economic policies, the majority of Tennessee business leaders believe President Donald Trump’s economic policies have had positive effects on the U.S. economy, the job market and their firm/business. Although almost 1 in 5 are undecided about the recent trade deal with Mexico and Canada (USMCA), the majority still expect it will have positive effects on the U.S. economy.
  • Trust:When it comes to trust, the majority of Tennessee business leaders have a high level of trust in Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee, President Trump, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Congress, Democrats in Congress, and mainstream media outlets garnered the least trust.

The overall index score is totaled from four sub-indices measured in the 17-question survey: current economic situation, future economic expectations, business/firm performance and employment outlook.

The current online survey of 62 business leaders from across the state was conducted between Oct. 4-15 in partnership with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The sample of respondents includes business owners (18 percent), vice presidents (9 percent), senior managers (35 percent), and managers/others (39 percent) at firms of various sizes.

The next Tennessee Business Barometer survey is scheduled for January. The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325.

For more information about the MTSU Office of Consumer Research, visit For more information about the Tennessee Chamber, visit

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