Saturday 21 April 2018
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Looking Forward

While employers – and the rest of the nation – were on the edge of their seats as election results declared Donald Trump as the next U.S. president-elect, an upbeat and hopeful survey of small-business owners signals a growing sense of optimism heading into 2017.

According to the PNC Economic Outlook Survey, owners of small and mid-size businesses are actually upbeat about the U.S. economy overall. The fall survey, conducted prior to the election, indicated that 71 percent are optimistic about the national economy – the highest since 2005, up from 55 percent in the spring.
Approximately 77 percent are optimistic about their local economy, the highest since 2014.

About 55 percent of those surveyed chose the word “hope” to describe their feelings toward the business climate over the next months. While 11 percent chose “fear” and 4 percent “despair.”

In fact, about 51 percent of those surveyed expected sales to go up in the next six months and 47 percent expect higher profits.

But experts say that doesn’t mean it’s all wine and roses. According to PNC’s chief economist Stuart Hoffman, “The glass for small business owners appears half full instead of half empty, but they aren’t ready to buy a round for everyone.”

In this edition of the Business Magazine, we’ll take a closer look at the growing optimism of the 2017 economic forecast from Ken Louie, Ph.D., of the Economic Research Institute of Erie as he explains where the local and state economy stand in relation to the nation and the world.

We’ll also hear from Robert Zaruta in his new role as chief executive office at the NWIRC in northwest Pennsylvania, as well as guest columnist John Siggins on the opportunities for new and existing businesses that are being created by the Shell Cracker Project being developed in western Pennsylvania.

Plus, we’ll celebrate the more than 200 graduates of the Manufacturer & Business Association’s (MBA) professional development and computer training classes and employers who are investing and taking their skill sets to the next level.

To learn more about the many training and networking opportunities available to your organization in the coming year, visit!