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MTSU survey: Tenn. business leaders more optimisti...

MTSU survey: Tenn. business leaders more optimistic about future, ‘believe the worst is here’

Tennessee business leaders have become more optimistic about the state’s business climate, though concerns about inflation continue, 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 156 — that’s up 114 points from fall 2022 but down 24 points from a year ago. The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325.

This fever chart shows the Tennessee Business Barometer Index and sub-indices results since its inception in July 2015. The latest Business Barometer Index is 156, up 114 points from fall 2022. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)
This fever chart shows the Tennessee Business Barometer Index and sub-indices results since its inception in July 2015. The latest Business Barometer Index is 156, up 114 points from fall 2022. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

Conducted in partnership with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, 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.

Tennessee business leaders had become pessimistic over the last several quarters, but sentiment moved in a positive direction this quarter, the survey showed, with positive sentiment increasing from 25% to 29%, and negative sentiment decreasing from 23% to 20%.”

Dr. Michael Peasley, assistant marketing professor, director of the Office of Consumer Research (MTSU photo)
Dr. Michael Peasley

“The overall business sentiment reflects a perception that the current conditions may be the worst part of the storm business leaders must weather,” noted Michael Peasley, assistant professor of marketing and director of the university’s Office of Consumer Research, which oversees the index.

“Over the past year, business leaders had become increasingly more concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the economy and business environment, but they now perceive that the worst is here.”

The latest survey showed that business leaders are preparing to weather the uncertainties surrounding the current economy.

“As business leaders navigate concerns about inflation, the risk of recession, and staffing decisions, these challenges make it difficult to forecast sales and plan for future demand,” Peasley noted. “However, many business leaders believe it won’t be too long before it is safe again to increase business investments. Some are even seeing opportunities for growth in the current economic climate. 

“By remaining vigilant and adaptable, many Tennessee business leaders are confident that they will be able to weather the storm and come out on the other side as a stronger and more efficient enterprise.”

Find the full Tennessee Business Barometer survey report and previous reports at https://bit.ly/2GZvO7U.For more information about the MTSU Office of Consumer Research, visit www.mtsu.edu/consumer. For more information about the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry, visit www.tnchamber.org.

— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)

This fever chart shows the Tennessee Business Barometer overall sentiment results since its inception in July 2015. The latest results from the online survey shows a more positive trend. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)
This fever chart shows the Tennessee Business Barometer overall sentiment results since its inception in July 2015. The latest results from the online survey shows a more positive trend. (Courtesy of the MTSU Office of Consumer Research)

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