More than half a decade after first feeling the effects of the Great Recession, Rhode Island’s business community seems to believe the state’s economy is on a sustainable positive trajectory.
That conclusion is thanks to Providence Business News’ 12th Business Survey, our biennial survey that asks private, for-profit enterprises in the Ocean State to answer a few questions about their performance, their expectations and their attitudes.
Business executives set record highs when asked if they expected the state economy to improve in the next 12 months as well as if they had a positive outlook on their own companies for the coming year, with nearly three-quarters of respondents looking for statewide gains and two-thirds planning for a better year.
The vision for the state showed an especially strong rebound from the worst part of the recession. When asked the same question five years ago, not even one in five executives said that they expected improvement for the overall Rhode Island economy in the next year.
Perhaps the strongest evidence of improving attitudes is the willingness of local business to invest – in people and equipment. For the first time in the survey, more than half of respondents said that they expected to hire someone within the next quarter, and also for the first time, more than 30 percent said that they expect to make a significant capital expenditure in the next quarter. A positive attitude is nice, but spending money is the real deal.
Not everything came up roses in the survey, but for a few moments at least, let’s enjoy the moment. Perhaps it really is the turning point. •