2019 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 2019 East-Central Indiana Business Survey was completed by 132 businesses in September-October 2019 before the impact of the coronavirus.

The survey is conducted annually as usual in the fall of the reporting year, the findings and outlook derived from the responses of the business operators included in this report do not reflect any impact of the pandemic on the seven-county region. Since the data was collected, many businesses’ plans have been disrupted or changed due to the pandemic. The hope is that this report will still provide a baseline measurement of what area businesses had anticipated versus the actual challenging situation they are currently facing.

In this survey, seven 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 2019 index values (computed on five counties only) indicated that, overall, the business community in this region experienced about the same situation in 2019 as in 2018 and expected about the same in 2020 as in 2019.

The survey was sent to 985 business executives in Fayette, Franklin, Henry, Randolph, Rush, 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, half 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 about half of the businesses were performing better in 2019 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 Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Group of Connersville and Fayette County, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, the New Castle-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, the New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, the Rush County Chamber of Commerce, the Rush County Economic Development Corporation, the Union County Development Corporation, the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County

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.