Omaha-area CEOs are generally optimistic about sales and growth in the coming year, with almost half expecting to add employees and most others expecting stable employment, according to a recent survey.
The results of the annual economic outlook survey of the Greater Omaha Chamber generally seemed to reflect the positive view for the U.S. economy as a whole. But there were also concerns expressed that could limit growth locally, including labor shortages, state taxes and incentives, and the possibility of a recession in the coming year.
“The largest issue I see is lack of available technical professionals to grow our business,” one CEO responded when asked about the biggest barriers to growth.
Another listed the biggest barriers as “Nebraska staying competitive with other states (taxes, incentives) and doing more in terms of making this better for residents (quality of life, recreation, affordable housing, etc).”
State business leaders have made renewal of the state’s business tax incentives program, set to expire at the end of 2020, a major priority for the year ahead.
The survey results were to be formally released Tuesday during the chamber’s annual economic outlook luncheon. This year’s event features Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, speaking on the importance of achieving inclusive economic growth.
When it comes to employment, 45% of the 110 CEOs who responded to the survey said they expected to add jobs this year, slightly below last year’s 47% figure but slightly above the average from the past five years’ surveys. In all, just 3% expected to reduce jobs in 2020.
Overall, 68% of the CEOs projected that they will have higher sales revenue/business volume in 2020 than in 2019, with 22% expecting flat revenues and 10% expecting revenues to fall. And 46% said they expected to increase capital investment above 2019 figures, with 11% expecting to invest less.
Overall, most of the chief executives thought their company was performing well relative to their competition. About 95% said they thought their company was performing the same or better than others in their industry, and 92% thought they were growing faster or at the same rate as the U.S. economy as a whole.