• Economic Survey Results

December 17, 2013

Topic: Business Leadership

2014 Dane County Results

The results of the 2014 First Business Economic Survey are in. Find out what Dane County business leaders said about 2014 actual and 2015 predicted:

  • sales revenue
  • total operating costs
  • capital expenditures
  • profitability
  • number of employees
  • changes in wages
  • changes in pricing

A summary of the Dane County findings presented at the December economic forum included:

  • The percentage of businesses operating at or above expectations in 2014 was a record 73%, the highest level since the first year of the survey (70% in 2004).
  • In 2014, Dane County businesses continued an upward trend in Sales Revenue started in 2010. A record 76% of business reported increased Sales Revenue which was also a statistically significant increase from 2013 level of 55%.
  • A record percentage of businesses in Dane County saw increases in profitability in 2014 (63%). What is more encouraging is that businesses are projecting even higher profitability in 2015 across all the sectors.
  • While more than half the businesses (53%) reported an increase in Operating Costs as a percentage of Revenue in Dane County, the number continues to trend downward since 2012.
  • Employment is trending up for Dane County with increases in both Number of Employees and Wages, although the changes are not statistically significant.
  • There is now a five year declining trend seen in the percentage of companies reporting decreased employment numbers from 39.8% in 2009 to 8.6% in 2014.
  • The percentage of businesses reporting decreased Wages is at its lowest level (4.8%) in the history of this survey, and more than 75% of Dane County businesses reported increased Wages for 2014 which is back to Pre-Recession levels.
  • A record 84% of Dane County businesses responding to the survey expect increased wages in 2015 compared to 55% last year.
  • Fewer Dane County businesses in 2014 reported decreases in Pricing compared to 2013 (down from 6.7% last year to 1.7%) continuing a fiveâ€year trend. An increase from last year, 62% of businesses reported increased prices.
  • After reaching the peak in Capacity Utilization in 2013 when 38% of Dane County businesses reported utilizing at least 90% of their capacity, in 2014 this number saw a decline as 21% of businesses reported utilizing at least 90% of capacity.
  • The top three actions attributed to improved company performance in 2014 are the same as in 2013; Increased Sales Efforts, Improved Internal Efficiencies and Increased Marketing Efforts.
  • Capital Expenditures increased or were unchanged for 90% of respondents which is an all-time high, and still 46% expect to increase cap-ex in 2015 (the highest level since 2006).  For respondents that consider themselves in “manufacturing,” 57% expect to increase cap-ex in 2015 – a record in that category.
  • A survey record 90% (previous best 84% for 2007) of businesses in Dane County are expecting better performance in 2015 which continues a three year increasing trend.
Download the full 2014 First Business Economic Survey Report for Dane County.

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