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UIS Economic Outlook Survey finds Sangamon County businesses are worried about the state's finances

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May 31, 2016
SPRINGFIELD - The Survey Research Office at the University of Illinois Springfield has released the Spring 2016 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey. The study examines the economic perceptions, expectations and evaluations of Sangamon County businesses as well as public and non-profit organizations.
 
The spring 2016 survey reveals that economic expectations for the economy of Sangamon County have decreased slightly since the spring of 2015 across all economic sectors. More than a third of respondents (36%) expect to see a decline in the state of the overall economy in the next 12 months. Similarly, 27% say that overall employment will decline, and 25% think that revenue will also decrease in the next 12 months.
 
Regarding respondents' expectations for their own firms/organizations, views are more optimistic. More than half of those surveyed (53%) say they expect their own sales to increase in the next 12 months. Likewise, 46% expect profitability to rise in the next year and 45% think that the overall status of their businesses/organizations will improve in the coming year. However, these percentages show declining optimism if compared with the fall 2015 survey, when 67% of respondents expected sales to go up, 52% looked for profitability to increase and 53% believed the overall status of their firms would get better.
 
Respondents were asked to identify the three biggest challenges for their business over the next 12 months from a list of pre-identified challenges. A majority (54%) report that the state's government finances are going to be one of the biggest challenges facing them in the next 12 months. Employers also identified government regulations and taxation (42%) and consumer confidence (37%) as important challenges looming in the year ahead.
 
The report also analyses the impact of the state budget impasse on Sangamon County's businesses and organizations. Respondents identified gross sales (54%) and profitability (47%) as the two business aspects more likely to be negatively affected by the current budget impasse.
Across economic sectors, the survey finds that respondents in the retail trade and the medical/ health care sectors are the most likely to indicate that the budget impasse has affected their organization negatively, whereas those in the finance/ insurance/ real estate sectors were the least likely to indicate the state budget impasse affected their organization in a negative way.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, public sector organizations and non-profits are more likely than private businesses to think that the budget impasse will have a negative effect on the overall status of their organizations in the next 12 months.
 
The Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey has been conducted biannually (March and September) since 2008. The results for 2016 are from 262 local organizations that were contacted in March via mail surveys and email invitations using Qualtrics Research Suite, a platform for online surveys.
 
The Spring 2016 Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey is sponsored by the UIS Chancellor's Office, the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership and The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the methodology and the full report, please visit the UIS Survey Research Office website at www.uis.edu/surveyresearchoffice.
 
Questions about the survey may be directed to Juan Carlos Donoso, director of the UIS Survey Research Office, at 217/206-7956 or jdono2@uis.edu.

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