Businesses more optimistic about sales and profits in 2020, MMAC survey finds

Economic indicators

Businesses in metro Milwaukee are more optimistic about the prospect for an increase in sales and profits in 2020 compared to the same time last year, according to the latest Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce business outlook survey.

The survey contains responses from 87 Milwaukee-area firms, with a total employment of more than 33,000.

The survey found 75% of businesses expect profits to increase this year, up from 65% who expected an increase heading into 2019. The number of firms expecting increased profits in just the first quarter was lower at 68%

The percentage of respondents who expect a sales increase this year increased from 72% to 78%. Just 68% of firms expect sales to increase in the first quarter specifically.

Optimism was stronger amongst non-manufacturers with 82% of firms expecting sales growth compared to 71% of manufacturers. Profit expectations were the same between the two types of firms.

Bret Mayborne, economic research director at MMAC, said the results suggest an improving business result in 2020.

“Survey results (also) suggest a modest start to the new year with upward momentum as the year moves forward,” Mayborne said.

The outlook for job growth in 2020 was largely unchanged from last year with 61% of employers expecting to add employees compared to 61% heading into 2019.

There was also little change in the outlook for wage growth with firms expecting an average of 3.1% in the next 12 months. Last year, firms expected an average increase of 3%.

Small firms expected to make larger wage increases at 3.3% while large firms expected an average increase of 2.9%.

Get our email updates

Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.