SOURCE: BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

January 15, 2014 07:30 ET

BMO Harris Bank Study: Minnesota Business Owners Looking Forward to Growth in 2014

MINNEAPOLIS, MN and ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwired - Jan 15, 2014) -

  • 94 percent expect that their business will grow or stay the same
  • 91 percent feel that the state economy in Minnesota will either improve or stay the same this year.
  • 88 percent believe that the U.S. economy will either improve or stay the same.

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that business owners in Minnesota are among some of the most optimistic in the country about their own future and the future of the economy. Ninety-four percent of Minnesota business owners surveyed feel that their business will either grow or stay at the same level in 2014.

"Businesses in Minnesota have a lot of reasons to be positive," said Todd Senger, Minnesota Regional President, BMO Harris Bank. "While we haven't been immune to the struggling economy over the past few years, we've recently enjoyed a relatively healthy job market and moderate growth."

When asked about the state economy, the majority of the Minnesota business owners surveyed have a positive outlook:

  • 49 percent of respondents feel that Minnesota's economy will improve in 2014, which is higher than the national average of 44 percent and one of the highest state percentages in the country.
  • 42 percent believe it will stay the same.
  • 9 percent believe it will worsen.

Respondents were also asked to identify what they felt was the biggest advantage to doing business in Minnesota compared to elsewhere in the United States. Answers were varied, but the top six were:

  • Affordable Cost Of Living (9 percent)
  • Lower Taxes (6 percent)
  • Talent Pool/Skilled Workers/Work Ethic (6 percent)
  • Small Town/Hometown Feel (6 percent)
  • Friendliness (6 percent)
  • Good Business Climate/Environment (6 percent)

"The Minnesota business community continues to express optimism thanks to the many advantages our area offers," added Mr. Senger. "With our affordable cost of living, excellent talent pool and the feel of a small town with cosmopolitan amenities, we have many business assets that set the stage for growth."

In addition to being positive about their own state, the majority of business owners in Minnesota were positive when asked about the national economy:

  • 43 percent expect the economy to improve.
  • 45 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 12 percent expect the economy to worsen.

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 Minnesota 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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