SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

January 15, 2014 08:05 ET

BMO Harris Bank Study: Business Owners in Illinois Feeling Positive About Prospects for 2014

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - Jan 15, 2014) -

  • 86 percent of business owners feel that their business will either grow or stay at the same level in 2014.
  • Three quarters believe that the U.S. economy will either improve or stay the same this year.
  • 70 percent feel that the state economy in Illinois will either improve or stay the same. 30 percent believe that things will get worse.

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that business owners in Illinois are confident about the outlook for their businesses, as well as the prospects for the U.S. economy in 2014. Their outlook, however, for the state economy in Illinois is decidedly mixed.

"Business owners in Illinois are confident in their ability to compete and succeed," said Dave Casper, Executive Vice President and Head, Commercial Banking, BMO Harris Bank. "While their outlook for the U.S. economy is largely positive there are some concerns, at the state level, that are reflected in the responses."

Illinois-based respondents were asked specifically if they believe that their business will grow, stay the same, or shrink in 2014.

  • 46 percent predicted their business to grow in 2014.
  • 40 percent expected to stay at the same level.
  • 15 percent believe their business will shrink in 2014.

When business owners in Illinois were asked about their expectations for the national economy, the answers were largely positive:

  • 50 percent expect the economy to improve.
  • 25 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 25 percent expect the economy to worsen.

The findings were somewhat less positive when business owners were asked specifically about the state economy in Illinois.

  • 35 percent of respondents feel that Illinois' economy will improve in 2014.
  • 35 percent believe it will stay the same.
  • 30 percent believe it will worsen.

Respondents were also asked to identify what they felt was the largest advantage to doing business in Illinois compared to elsewhere in the United States. "Good transportation options" was the leading answer, having been highlighted by 10 percent of respondents.

"Illinois is home to a vast array of strong, efficient companies which weathered the economic storm over the past five years and are in a position to grow," added Mr. Casper. "I expect to continue to see an economic recovery, one that is led by businesses of all shapes and sizes."

National Results from the Survey

When business owners throughout the country were asked about their expectations for the economy, the results were as follows:

  • 37 percent expect the economy to improve.
  • 34 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 29 percent expect the economy to worsen.

Owners of businesses with revenues over $20 million per year were significantly more optimistic, both in their own prospects and in their outlook for the economy:

  • 68 percent feel their business will grow in 2014, vs. 53 percent of all businesses.
  • 45 percent feel the U.S. economy will improve in 2014, vs. 37 percent for all businesses.

Survey findings can be found at the BMO Harris Commercial Resource Center:

Positive Forecast for 2014 from BMO Economics

A recent report from BMO Economics on U.S. economic prospects for 2014 was considerably upbeat, given a combination of record levels of household wealth, lower debt, lower gas prices and improved prospects for employment.

"The clouds are parting, and therefore we're forecasting GDP growth of 2.9 percent for the coming year," said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. "We foresee increased consumer spending and business investment along with export growth and improved household finances all playing a part in creating strong growth in 2014."

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 601 American business owners (including an oversample of 50 Illinois owners) in November, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 4%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris® and BMO Harris Bank® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and approximately CDN $537 billion in assets (as of Oct. 31, 2013).

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