SOURCE: BMO Harris

BMO Harris

January 15, 2014 11:00 ET

BMO Harris Bank Study: Missouri Business Owners Cautiously Optimistic About 2014

ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwired - Jan 15, 2014) -

  • 90 percent of business owners feel that their business will either grow or stay the same in 2014.
  • 69 percent believe that the U.S. economy will either improve or stay the same.
  • 64 percent feel that the state economy in Missouri will either improve or stay the same this year.

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that business owners in Missouri are confident about their ability to grow in 2014. Fifty-three percent of Missouri business owners surveyed expect to grow their businesses, and 37 percent expect the business to stay the same. The majority expect the Missouri and U.S. economies to hold steady.

"The fact that more than half the business owners in this survey are planning to grow their business is a positive indicator for Missouri," said David Warning, Managing Director Commercial Banking, St. Louis, BMO Harris Bank. "This matches the fact that we've seen increasing activity from businesses that are looking for funding for expansion and growth."

When asked about the state economy, Missouri business owners surveyed are divided:

  • 27 percent of respondents feel that Missouri's economy will improve in 2014.
  • 37 percent believe it will stay the same.
  • 36 percent believe it will worsen.

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

  • Affordable Cost Of Living (26 percent)
  • Lower Taxes (18 percent)
  • Good/Central Location (11 percent)
  • Lower Operating Costs (8 percent)

"Our biggest advantage for businesses is affordability both for business expenses and for employees living expenses," added Mr. Warning. "Plus, being centrally located in the country with excellent access through the interstate and rail systems and waterways puts us in an enviable location for businesses planning for growth."

Half of the business owners in Missouri are expecting the national economy to stay the same, while nearly a third expects it to worsen:

  • 19 percent expect the U.S. economy to improve.
  • 50 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 31 percent expect the U.S. 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 Missouri 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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