SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

January 15, 2014 16:15 ET

BMO Harris Bank Study: Florida Business Owners Feeling Very Good About 2014

SARASOTA, FL--(Marketwired - Jan 15, 2014) -  

  • Ninety-six percent of Florida business owners feel that their business will either grow or stay at the same level in 2014.
  • More than three-fourths (80 percent) believe that the U.S. economy will either improve or stay the same this year.
  • Nearly all (92 percent) feel that the state economy in Florida will either improve or stay the same.

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that business owners in Florida are some of the most optimistic in the country about the prospects for success for their own businesses and the US economy for the coming year. Ninety-six percent of the Sunshine State business owners feel that their business will either grow or stay at the same level in 2014. Additionally, only 20 percent believe that the U.S. economy will worsen this year.

"It's a very encouraging sign that Florida business owners are so confident about their company outlooks in 2014," said Andrew Cardimen, Managing Director and Head, Commercial Banking, Florida, BMO Harris Bank. "While we've certainly seen progress to date, there's a bit of apprehension when it comes to the prospects for the overall U.S. economy."

When business owners in Florida were asked about their expectations for the national economy, the answers were divided:

  • 32 percent expect the economy to improve.
  • 48 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 20 percent expect the economy to worsen.

The findings were more upbeat when business owners were asked specifically about the state economy in Florida.

  • 36 percent of respondents feel that Florida's economy will improve in 2014.
  • 56 percent believe it will stay the same.
  • 8 percent believe it will worsen.

Respondents were also asked to identify what they felt was the largest advantage to doing business in Florida compared to elsewhere in the United States. Not surprisingly, taxes and weather were the top reasons:

  • Lower taxes (24 percent )
  • Climate/Weather (20 percent)
  • Large workforce (8 percent )

"We have a number of companies in Florida that have weathered the economic downturn well," added Mr. Cardimen. "Many are in better shape than they were five years ago, with stronger balance sheets and more efficient operations."

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: 2014 business outlook.

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 Florida 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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