2018 East-Central Indiana business climate survey results announced

The Indiana University East Business and Economic Research Center (the BERC) of the School of Business and Economics surveyed regional businesses to research the business and economic pulse in East-Central Indiana.

The 2018 East-Central Indiana Business Survey was completed by 96 businesses in September-October 2018. In this survey, five East-Central Indiana counties were included to provide an overview of the business climate of the regional economy. Based on the responses from the business executives, the BERC computed the scores of the IU East Regional Business Confidence Index (IUERBCI) that are used to gauge the confidence of East-Central Indiana’s knowledgeable business leaders in the future.

The IUERBCI has a gross score of 2,479 for 2018, which is converted to an index value of 106.08. The 2018 IUERBCI has increased approximately 2 percent from 2017. This indicated that, overall, the business community in this region continued to hold an optimistic view about conducting their business activities in the region. However, the rising momentum in their confidence was just about half of the year before. A breakdown of the index into its sub-indexes illustrated that the regional business community was having much higher confidence in the current economic performance of the region for 2018 (as expressed by the 112.43 points from the Present Situation Index) than in the future performance for 2019 (as expressed by the 99.90 points from the Expectation Index).

The survey was sent to 616 business executives in Fayette, Henry, Randolph, Union, and Wayne counties across a wide spectrum of industries including professional services, manufacturing, health care, information technology, retail trade, and banking and financial services. Of the participating businesses surveyed, 56 percent have been in operation in the region for more than 20 years.

The survey was broken down into sections including demographics, performance, expectations, concerns and forecasts for the coming year. A few of the survey highlights indicated that businesses were performing better in 2018 including increases in business output and activity; hiring more employees; increased investment spending; and respondents indicated that their business experienced an increase in profits.

The survey report is available on the BERC website at iue.edu/business/berc/. This project would not have been successful without the support and contribution of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, and the Union County Development Corporation.

For more information, contact the Director of the Business and Economic Research Center and Associate Professor of Finance Oi Lin (Irene) Cheung, Ph.D., at (765) 973-8497 or Associate Professor of Economics and Finance Litao (Lee) Zhong, Ph.D., at (765) 973-8289.