Highlights of Dane County Economic Results Released
MADISON, WI - December 8, 2010 - Key findings of the 2010 First Business Economic Survey of Dane County, which was conducted by the University of Wisconsin’s A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research in September and October of 2010, indicate businesses saw improved sales, revenue and profits in 2010. Many key indicators were up significantly from 2009 including overall performance, sales revenue, profit, and capital expenditures.
Key Findings for 2010:
Sales revenue saw the biggest change of any single indicator as 42 percent of businesses reported increased sales revenue (up from 28 percent in 2009) and 46 percent reported a decrease (down from 62 percent in 2009). Manufacturing made major improvements over its 2009 results. 50 percent of this sector reported a sales increase, compared to only eight percent in 2009.The retail sector showed a similar, but less dramatic, pattern with significant increases in sales revenue and decreases in falling revenue.Fifty-six percent of businesses met or exceeded expectations compared to only 48 percent in 2009.
Despite improvements in many areas, economic indicators continue to lag behind pre-recession levels almost universally.
The percentage of businesses reporting increases did not change significantly for number of employees or overall wages.
There was a significant decrease in the percentage of firms lowering wages (down from 23.2 percent in 2009 to 16.6 percent in 2010) and a significant increase in those maintaining the status quo (45 percent in 2010).
The percentage of firms cutting employees dropped from 40 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2010.
When asked what methods they employed to weather the downturn in the economy, the number one response from businesses was "improving internal efficiencies".
Over 50 percent of respondents indicated this as one of the things that made the greatest difference in getting through the tough economy.
Expectations for 2011 are positive.
At least 79 percent of businesses expect to perform better in the coming year.
Across all economic indicators, a majority of businesses are predicting 2011 will be as good as or better than 2010.
This is a tempered optimism as these expectations are not notably better than last year.
About the Survey
This was the eighth year for the study. The survey was sent to 3,973 businesses in Dane County that were reported to have five or more employees and was addressed to the CEO, CFO, President, and/or business owner. The survey asked respondents to evaluate the current, and predict the future performance of their businesses on eight key economic indicators in each of the following areas: Sales Revenue, Profitability, Total Operating Costs as a Percent of Revenue, Capital Expenditures, Number of Employees, Overall Wage Change, Change in Pricing, and Operating Capacity.