Most Milwaukee area business leaders are optimistic about the fourth quarter, according to the latest business outlook survey from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
The survey contains responses from 118 Milwaukee area firms, both large and small, with a total of more than 38,500 employees.
Of the area businesses that responded to the survey, 63 percent predict fourth quarter sales increases compared to the fourth quarter of 2015, 17 percent predict sales declines and 21 percent expect no change. The level of optimism in sales growth is down a bit from the third quarter when 65 percent of those surveyed predicted sales gains.
Of those surveyed, 57 percent expect an increase in fourth quarter profits compared to a year ago. For the third quarter, 58 percent expected profits to increase.
For hiring, 56 percent of those surveyed expect to increase employment compared to a year ago and 9 percent predict a reduction in their workforce.
Area employers expect wages to increase 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter.
“Overall, the percentage of businesses forecasting quarterly gains are somewhat modest but do suggest continuing growth through the remainder of 2016,” said Bret Mayborne, the MMAC’s regional economic research director.
However, expectations for the year have dipped since the beginning of the year. With nearly three quarters of the year complete, 70 percent of those surveyed expect improved sales for the year as a whole, down from 75 percent who predicted sales increases at the beginning of the year.
Looking ahead, 72 percent of those surveyed expect sales gains in 2017.
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