New Family Business Survey Finds Cincinnati Firms More Optimistic About the Economy

February 10, 2012

CINCINNATI - Results from a new quarterly survey of Cincinnati area family firms -- the first of its kind in the nation -- reveal that while local business owners have some uncertainty about the economy, they are in general more optimistic than their national counterparts.

During the last quarter of 2011 two Centers at the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Linder College of Business launched the Greater Cincinnati Family Business Survey (GCFB). This survey tracks the economic outlook of over 200 local family firms. Its main finding is based on comparing local survey data with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Economic Trends Survey of November 2011. GCFB survey questions mirror the NFIB study.

Sponsored by First Financial Bank, the GCFB study is conducted jointly by the Goering Center for Family and Private Business and the Economics Center.

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Additional findings from the GCFB survey include:

  • A larger proportion of local business owners, compared the national respondents to the NFIB survey, believe that now is a good time to expand their businesses.
  • A larger proportion of local businesses expect to enjoy higher real sales in the first quarter of 2012 to increase employment, and to make capital purchases.
  • An exception to the general optimism of local businesses is that a greater share expects worse credit conditions in the next quarter compared to their national counterparts.

The condition of the national economy over the last year has influenced the perceptions of local and national businesses. Overall, the U.S. economy delivered mixed results in 2011.

Local businesses’ general optimism accords with the regional outlook produced by the Cincinnati USA Partnership for Economic Development and the Northern Kentucky Regional Chamber of Commerce. The 2012 Regional Outlook included estimates of key indicators for 2011 indicating modest growth in Gross Regional Product (1.7 percent) and total employment (1.1 percent). Thus, the year is expected to conclude on a positive, although not robust, note for the economic recovery.

The Greater Cincinnati Family Business Survey will be conducted quarterly in 2012 and beyond. For further information, please call Sid Barton, PhD, at (513)556-7185 or e-mail Sid.Barton@uc.edu.