Economic Outlook

A Quick Peek into Greater Omaha’s Economy

Optimistic Outlook — Over 100 of Greater Omaha’s CEOs completed this year’s Economic Outlook Survey. The majority of companies reported doing as well or better financially in 2019 as in 2018.

Furthermore, CEOs are most optimistic about their potential to grow sales revenue in 2020. Most also anticipate supporting their current levels of capital investment and employees, with almost half expecting to increase jobs and investment.

Economic Growth in 2019 vs 2018

Growth in 2019

Almost 60% of company CEOs said that their sales revenue increased in 2019, compared to 2018. Over 40% of companies expect to increase the amount of capital investment and employment. About half said that, in 2019, their company invested relatively the same amount of capital (51%) and created the same number of jobs (49%) as 2018.

Relative Competitiveness in 2019

In addition to assessing their growth in 2019, we also asked CEOs how their company performed or grew relative to the national economy or their own industry. 92% of CEOs say their company is growing at a rate that is the same or faster than the U.S. economy. Furthermore, 95% also say that their company performs the same or better than other companies in their industry. More CEOs are optimistic that their companies are growing faster than others in their industry (54%) than the U.S. economy (50%).

Future Economic Growth

Forecasted Growth in 2020

When asked to predict how their companies will perform in 2020, almost 70% project that their sales revenue will be higher. In terms of jobs, less than half (45%) expect to increase the number of employees in their company. Finally, 46% plan to invest more capital in 2020 than 2019. When compared to previous responses, 2019 CEO respondents are slightly more optimistic than the 5-year average on their future sales revenue, job growth and capital investment.

What factors are important for growth?

According to the CEOs who took the survey, the most important factors for growing their business are: attracting employees, retaining employees, and labor costs (wage/salary).

What do you see as long-term barriers to the success of your business?

The biggest long-term barriers that CEOs mentioned were finding talented candidates as well as retaining current employees. Respondents also mentioned the tax burden and economic development in our state, and the potential for an economic recession as limitations to growing their business.

Who Responded?

Industry

The largest share of surveyed CEOs’ companies belong to Professional & Business Services industries (25%), and Financial Activities industrities (25%), followed by Other Services industries (16%).

Professionals, Scientific and Technical Services include companies offering services like: legal, accounting, architecture/engineering, design, computer system/design, professional consulting, security, landscaping, employment placement, janitorial, etc. Financial Services include companies like banks, insurance carriers, payment processors and real esate, etc.)

Company Size

Over 20% of the CEOs’ companies have fewer than 10 employees and 14% have 500 or more. Our survey had a smaller share of companies with fewer than 10 employees and a larger share of companies in all other size categories, compared to the metro’s norm.

Methodology

An email with a link to complete the 2019 Economic Outlook Survey was sent to CEOs of active member companies of the Greater Omaha Chamber and a paper version was given to Chamber Board Members in attendance at the September board meeting. Online respondents were given a three-week period to complete the survey. A total of 110 survey responses were submitted.

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