The Providence Business News’ biannual Business Survey is straightforward in its approach.
We ask our database of private companies – the same database we use to compile our weekly Top Lists as well as the basis for our annual Book of Lists – what they are seeing at their businesses and what plans they are making for the future. The results are just what the business community can use more of – direct, unvarnished information from the people they trust most – themselves.
And what the business community is telling us with their answers is that they feel better about their companies than at any time in the last five years, which is how long we have been doing the survey.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents said the outlook for their business in the next year is better than in the last year, a record high for the Business Survey. And keep in mind that 54 percent of respondents said that net income in 2012 was higher than in 2011, a record high for that year-on-year comparison as well.
In addition, nearly 45 percent of companies said that they planned to hire employees in the coming three months, also a record high for survey respondents.
Of course there are problems with Rhode Island’s economy and its business climate. And the nation is still mired in a slow-growth recovery from the Great Recession. There are many obstacles to be overcome.
But the next time a discussion swerves into moaning about the state of Rhode Island’s businesses, those involved in the conversation should pay attention to the positive results that so many of the state’s enterprises are posting and recognize that a lot of good things are happening, too. •