Univ. of Ala. sponsored business survey shows negative outlook for state’s economy

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 8:11 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Inflation is hurting us all as we’re paying more for just about everything. Businesses reportedly are not doing much better.

A new survey shows business leaders in our state have a negative outlook on the economy.

We spoke with Susannah Robichaux, the University of Alabama Socioeconomic Analyst researcher who put this survey together.

This is a business survey UA does every quarter and those who respond are business leaders. Once a quarter, they answer six questions. Those questions range from their forecast on the state’s economy to their predictions on their own sales, hiring and potential profits.

Inflation, higher gasoline prices, and a possible recession help comprise what Robichaux says is the Alabama Business Confidence Index (ABCI). Anything under the score of 50 is considered a ‘negative’ outlook. The most recent ABCI shows an index of 48.4.

“What we have this quarter is for the second consecutive quarter, the index was below 50 which indicates the majority of business leaders are expecting some sort of economic slowdown in the six variables we asked them about,” said Robichaux.

The survey was done in September 2022, but there is a sliver of positive news in the negative economic outlook by business leaders. The 48.4 score is slightly higher than the quarter before.

“So, the businesses are feeling pretty confident in the coming quarter – October through December,” added Robichaux. “Their own sales will increase and their hiring’s relative to the previous quarter will also increase but we saw they were nervous about the Alabama out and the U.S. outlook.”

But for the average Alabamian, Robichaux says this isn’t something to lose sleep over, and sees potential improvement with inflation.

Robichaux says now is the time to whittle away your debts.

“It’s always a good idea to get rid of debt if you can and with the increase we’ve see in grocery store prices and things like that, so just squirrel away what you can and when you can.”

Robichaux says it’s too early to say what anyone thinks about the first quarter in 2023.

The next survey will be done in December 2022.

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