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VOL. 128 | NO. 175 | Monday, September 9, 2013

Memphis Economic Indicator Seeks Participants

By Andy Meek

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The end of the third quarter is approaching, which means it’s time once again to hear what members of the local business community have to say about the direction of the economy.


The Daily News rolled out a new feature, the Memphis Economic Indicator, in the second quarter. It’s a six-question survey measuring general business sentiment, and the newspaper’s partner for the feature is Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP.

The forward-looking survey asks participants to consider how they feel about different facets of the economy and their respective companies over the next quarter. The idea is that combined with other metrics compiled by The Daily News’ sister company, real estate information company Chandler Reports, a three-dimensional picture of the economy and of the business community will begin to emerge.

Anthony Clark, regional managing partner at Dixon Hughes Goodman, said the firm was impressed with the inaugural results of the survey, which the paper published at the end of July, and that he hopes it becomes a useful business tool. Participants can take the survey at www.memphiseconomicindicator.com, and the earlier results are available at that site as well.

The first question of the survey asks whether over the next quarter the survey-taker expects to see increased staff at his or her place of employment. The respondent answers by clicking a bubble associated with a range between one and 10, with one being “not at all confident” and 10 being “very confident.”

Other survey questions seek to determine whether participants expect to see increased revenue, an increase in profit margin, an increase in expenses, and whether they think the overall economic position of both their company and Memphis as a whole will improve.

The general survey information participants provide will only be used for reporting purposes, and no identifying participant or company information will be published.

During the second quarter, the survey garnered 118 responses. One takeaway was that there’s no consensus around a single adjective to describe economic sentiment – responses were spread almost equally among a more optimistic bent, negative sentiment and a middling outlook.

There were variances toward negativity in some of the answers, such as in whether the respondents expected their businesses to add staff over the next quarter. Most respondents, on the other hand, generally leaned positive when asked if they felt their company’s economic position would improve over the next quarter.

“Lenders continue to be cautious, with reason and due to regulations,” SEACAP Financial Inc. founding principal Bob King said at the time, looking toward the third quarter. “Lending and credit policies continue to be relatively tight, which in the aggregate is a healthy thing as it tends to temper extreme enthusiasm from overanxious business owners with pent-up growth energy. Conversely, some very deserving businesses continue to struggle in their efforts to secure all the capital they need to take advantage of market opportunities.”

Dixon Hughes Goodman is one of the largest CPA firms based in the Southeast. It has employees throughout the region who provide comprehensive accounting and advisory services.

The Daily News has served since its founding in 1886 as the Memphis metro area’s source for daily news and information on business and commerce.

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PROPERTY SALES 83 188 9,757
MORTGAGES 100 182 11,496
BUILDING PERMITS 194 328 20,638
BANKRUPTCIES 61 119 6,556

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