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Bellevue Chamber News & Happenings: Bellevue Chamber News

Eastside Business Leader Outlook on the 2017 Economy & Business Strategy Guide Released

Friday, November 18, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lexi Obenchain
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November 18, 2016
Contact: Sara Garner, 425.213.1204; sgarner@bellevuechamber.org


Eastside Business Leader Outlook on the 2017 Economy

Bellevue Chamber Releases Economic Survey Results and Economic Strategy Guide

BELLEVUE – Eastside business leader optimism remains high, with 88% of those surveyed believing the Puget Sound economy will continue to expand in the next year. This reflects a remarkable rebound from the 2008 low of 36%. Overall, Eastside business leaders continue their optimism into 2017 with 44% of respondents noting they were more optimistic since this time last year.

The complete results of the annual Eastside Business Leader survey conducted by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce were revealed at the 2016 Eastside Economic Forecast Breakfast on Thursday, and may be found in the Bellevue Chamber’s complimentary 2017 Eastside Economic Forecast Strategy Guide, available online at www.bellevuechamber.org/2017strategyguide.com.

Other survey findings include:

Revenue Outlook for local companies:

Drilling down to the individual company level revealed businesses are increasingly optimistic about their own company when it comes to forecasting revenue in the next year with over 76% expecting that revenues will come in stronger than last year. Compared to 74% (2016); 78% (2015); 76% (2014) and 70% (2013) expected stronger revenues. 18% felt their revenues would hold steady, a decrease of three percentage points from last year’s 21%.

Jobs Outlook for local companies:

The workforce prediction is also positive with 51% of survey respondents expecting to add employees to their company in 2017 (this compares to 52% in 2016; 57% in 2015; 49% in 2014 and 41% expected to add jobs in 2013. The most job growth in relation to company size is expected within companies of 51-99 employees (76%) and 100-250 employees (66%).

Top areas of workforce expansion continued the same as last year and are:

  • Marketing and sales positions – 54% down a notch from last year’s 58%
  • Administration – down a bit at 34%, compared to 38% in 2015
  • Industry/Technical Specialists – slowed a bit to 30%; down from the last two years 36% (2015) and 37% (2014)

The top four state and local business challenges business leaders will encounter in 2016:

  • Cost of health care (rose from the number two slot the last two years to the top challenge this year)
  • Federal legislation (moved up from number three last year and not on the top of the charts previously)
  • The global economy (moved from the fourth slot last year to the third spot this year)
  • Access to talent (moved down to fourth place)

While the top four concerns remained at the top of the charts the last two years, they just flipped in order. Cost of health care was ranked significantly higher than any of the other top challenges. Other changes of note were housing availability – sales/price/inventory went from #10 last year to #6 this year.

The top national factors impacting the business leader outlook in 2016:

#1 Transportation, infrastructure and congestion

#2 Employee health care costs

#3 Business taxation, regulation, and utilities rates

#4 Regional economic climate

Business leaders have sent a consistent message the last three years that these four areas are their top challenges. The rankings show their numbers are tightly clustered. Since 2009, we have seen significant priority shifts which are further highlighted in the 2017 Business Strategy Guide.

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The Bellevue Chamber serves as the voice of business on the Eastside, representing thousands of jobs in our community. Businesses range in size from sole proprietors to large corporations. The Chamber's mission is to foster a healthy business environment by providing strategic leadership, advocacy, tools, and resources for business success


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