A few months can make a lot of difference. In the spring, the Sangamon County Economic Outlook Survey ound a lot of optimism. But that was before a budget impasse left the State of Illinois without a spending plan for 4 months and counting.
Now, here in the fall, there has been a significant decrease in expectations. According to the survey:
More than half of respondents report that the current state budget impasse is having a negative effect on their organization’s gross revenue/sales (53.8 percent) and profitability (51.0 percent). In addition, 46.1 percent of all employers in Sangamon County report that the state budget impasse is having a negative effect on the overall status of their firm.
Still, many have higher expectations for their own operation.
"I think it has a lot to do with what they have control over," Ashley Kirzinger said. She's the Director of the Survey Research Office at the University of Illinois Springfield, which conducted the survey in conjunction with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
"They know what's happening within their company... within their sector. But there's a lot more in play when it comes to the overall economy."
"In March, no one could have predicted we would be 4 months in without a budget. We still saw that optimism in March," she said. "It affects not only employers in the area but also those who are living and working in Sangamon County. Like a local grocery store, they're seeing people come in there less often and spend less money. A lot of the retail responses are people are spending less money, holding on to a little more cushion just in case this doesn't work out."
Respondents were less likely to say the impasse and the uncertainty is having a direct effect on total number of employees they have or potential hiring.
The survey also showed concerns over regulations on businesses, such as worker's compensation insurance costs. About 70% called it a burden. Fewer rated health care costs as a major concern.
High expectations remain for growth in the medical and health care sector.