Fourth Quarter Shows Widespread Gains In Sales And Profits

Jan. 30, 2018
NABE Business Conditions Survey shows widespread sales and profit gains in the fourth quarter of 2017, but also notable increases in materials costs and wages, and shortages of skilled labor.

The January 2018 NABE (National Association for Business Economics) Business Conditions Survey indicates widespread sales and profit gains in the fourth quarter of 2017, but also notable increases in materials costs, wages and shortages of skilled labor, according to NABE Vice President Kevin Swift, CBE, chief economist, American Chemistry Council. 

“The panel’s outlook for growth in the overall economy over the next four quarters surpasses the relatively positive assessments of the past few quarterly surveys,” says Swift. “Compared to the near-term outlook three months ago, more firms expect increases in the next three months in their firms’ profits, employment and capital spending.” Swift notes, however, that optimism regarding sales in the first quarter of 2018 is less widespread than it has been since 2016.

“More respondents report that their firms are hiring—and having trouble filling positions—than in the October survey,” adds Swift. “Looking at 2018 as a whole, 63% of respondents expect their firms to increase sales, and three times as many expect hiring to increase rather than decrease.”

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