Horizon Council and FGCU Second Quarter Lee County Business Climate Survey Report Indicates Expected Continued Improvement

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Lee County Business Climate Survey Report Indicates Expected Continued Improvement

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 18, 2012) - The second quarter Horizon Council and Florida Gulf Coast University’s Lee County Executive Business Climate Survey Report provides insights into Lee County’s economy and expected economic trends.

The survey provides a key new economic indicator for Lee County, the Executive Business Climate Index.

The second quarter survey (April 2012) value for the Lee County Executive Business Climate Index is 69, which indicates expected continued improvement in the local economy. The index is slightly higher than the index value of 66 calculated from the first quarter survey (January 2012) reinforcing the executives' view that that the overall local economy is expected to continue to improve.

Additional key findings for the second quarter of 2012 include:

  • 70 percent of executives stated that the current economic conditions have improved over last year;
  • 79 percent of the executives expect the economy to improve over the next year;
  • 65 percent of the executives stated that the current economic conditions for their industry have improved over last year, but 30 percent stated that economic conditions remained approximately the same;
  • 79 percent of executives expect economic conditions for their industry to improve over the next year;
  • 32 percent of executives had increased employment over the last year, while nine percent had reduced employment;
  • 45 percent of executives expect to increase employment at their companies during the next year and only one percent of executives expect to reduce employment;
  • 53 percent of companies expect to increase investment next year and only three percent expect to reduce their investment levels;
  • The cost of doing business was moderately higher than last year for 58 percent of the executives and substantially higher for 13 percent of the executives compared to last year. Only two percent of the executives indicated that costs were moderately lower and 27 percent indicated that costs were approximately the same as one year ago.
  • The cost of doing business over the next year is expected to be similar to the increases observed over the last year. Sixty-nine percent of the executives expect moderate higher costs but 10 percent expect costs to be substantially higher;
  • The geographic client market includes 24 percent of firms serving international markets and 40 percent serving the U.S. market;
  • The primary business challenges identified by the executives included:
  •      A qualified workforce
  •      Controlling costs
  •      Markets and growth
  •      Poor local and national economy
  •      Financing
  •      Regulation
  •      Healthcare costs
  •      Technology

The Executive Business Climate Index value can range from 0 to 100. An index number of 50 would be neutral or an expectation of no change in economic activity. Therefore, this quarter's index indicates economic activity in Lee County is expected to improve but at a less than moderate growth pace.

The index is computed using the two questions concerning the current and future economic conditions and a third question about the expected industry economic conditions. The index is an average of the responses with substantially better equal to 100, moderately better equal to 75, same equal to 50, moderately worse equal to 25 and substantially worse equal to zero.

About Fort Myers Regional Partnership

The Fort Myers Regional Partnership works to attract new and diversified businesses resulting in high-wage, high-skilled jobs; retains and encourages the expansion of existing businesses and improves the overall business environment. Lee County is a thriving business community with a highly regarded airport, significant corporate development and ample real estate opportunities. The area is attracting, retaining and growing high-value businesses with a unique blend of an outstanding business climate and superior quality of life. The county is home to five vibrant cities--Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, and Sanibel--and is the heart of Southwest Florida.

The Partnership continues to promote and build the region through ongoing efforts from its proactive team of domestic and international recruiters, research staff and community liaisons, as well as through its partnerships with the Horizon Foundation, the Horizon Council and the Lee County Industrial Development Authority. Since 1996, more than 5,000 new jobs and more than $1 billion in economic impact have been committed to as a direct result of key local incentive programs; Lee County Job Opportunity Program and the First Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets as well as State of Florida incentives and the State Closing Fund.

In addition to the website, http://www.FortMyersRegionalPartnership.com, Fort Myers Regional Partnership can also be found social networking sites including Linked-In, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Honoring the Past. Celebrating the Present. Exploring the Future.

Lee County is celebrating its 125th anniversary (Quasquicentennial) on May 13, 2012. In honor of its independence from Monroe County in 1887, Lee County will be offering a variety of special events, programs, and promotions throughout the year. Learn more at http://www.LeeGov.com/125th with a monthly events calendar, photo gallery, and historic events timeline.

Editor’s Notes: For more information, media representatives should contact Gary Jackson, director, Regional Economic Research Institute at 239.590.7319 or Jennifer Berg of the Myers Regional Partnership at 239.338.3161 or email at JBerg(at)leegov(dot)com. The link to the survey

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