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Fourth Quarter Economic Barometer Results
Mankato, MN (February 10, 2017) – The fourth quarter, October to December, was strong for the Greater Mankato economy. The strong end of the year was forecasted in the previous economic barometer survey also, as businesses projected that nearly all metrics would be up versus the same time last year.
For the three-month period compared to the same time last year, 67.5 percent said revenue was up or the same and employment level was steady with little change. Capital expenditures were steady with little change for 43.8 percent.
"The fourth quarter has typically been strong for the Greater Mankato marketplace," said John Considine, GMG's Regional Business Intelligence Director. “R&D spending and employment change were both areas with steady to little change from quarter three. However, many businesses reported an increase in new customer acquisition (up 42.5 percent) as compared to the same time last year.”
In regards to the 2017 forecast for first quarter, Considine said, "The construction industry was the only sector that had a noticeable change projected amongst all metrics. A clear majority look for Quarter One, 2017 is to be down from the year before.”
The state political scene remained a major concern for the majority of area businesses, while workforce availability was another top concern. This is a continuing trend despite the end of the election cycle. The business concerns were ranked in this order:
1. Largest Concern: National Political Climate
2. Workforce Availability
3. Labor Costs
4. State Political Climate
5. Minnesota Regulation, Permitting
6. Least Concern: Operational Costs (without labor)
On the question of ‘percent of workforce that will be at retirement age of 65 in the next five years and of that number, how many do you estimate will work beyond retirement age’, a majority of businesses (66 percent) said zero-to-ten percent of their workforce will be at age 65 in the next five years. Only one-in-thirteen will be facing 30 percent or more of their workforce at retirement age. It is expected that only 40 percent of those reaching retirement age will fully retire.
The GMG Economic Barometer was sent electronically to nearly 2,000 area business leaders from January 15 – February 3 with 75 reporting. The survey included GMG members and non-members as respondents.