Local Businesses are Optimistic for the Second Half of 2016

by Bailey Tripp | Jun 30, 2016

Three surveys released this month indicate business owners’ optimism for the St. Louis economy, which is expected to expand throughout the fall.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Second Quarter 2016 Burgundy Book, released on June 21st, reports that surveyed business executives have an increasingly positive outlook of the economy compared to the previous quarter. More people expect improvements over the next quarter and fewer expect conditions to worsen. The local housing market’s recovery is accelerating.  Residential real estate is heating up due to an increased demand, driving appreciation and sales activities that outpace national trends. In turn, this strong demand is excepted to spur construction activity into the next quarter.

The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released on June 14th, anticipates an uptick in hiring activity over the next three months.  According to the survey, 19 percent of regional employers plan to hire new employees, 74 percent will maintain current staffing levels and 6 percent plan to reduce staff.  These percentages translate into a Net Employment Outlook of 13 percent, consistent with the Net Employment Outlook from one year ago.  The possibility for job growth is broad. In particular, the following sectors are reported to expand: construction, durable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, financial activity, professional and business services, education and health services, leisure and hospitality as well as government.

The technology sector is also slated to see employment rates rise. According to the Robert Half Technology’s IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report, also released on June 21st, a quarter of the St. Louis-area technology executives expect to hire more IT professionals in the second half of 2016.  This rate is up slightly from the 24% reported this time last year.  Fewer companies report putting hiring plans on hold or reducing their IT staff. Joe McIntyre, the St. Louis district president of Robert Half Technology said in a statement that “It’s a great time to be a technology professional in St. Louis…New projects and initiatives, as well as continued economic growth, have spurred hiring at local companies in the healthcare, financial services and retail sectors.” 

Overall, the St. Louis area economy is forecast to strengthen throughout the next several quarters. For an insight into the region’s current employment activity and labor force performance, refer to the latest issue of Greater St. Louis Monthly Employment Summary on our website.