Chamber survey results reflect mixed outlook

The latest results of a twice-annual survey conducted by the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce reflect a mixed outlook among members about economic and labor conditions.

In assessing local conditions, 67 percent of those who responded to the fall 2012 survey viewed the local economy as weak or extremely weak — less than this time last year, but about the same as the spring.

Meanwhile, 47 percent of respondents said they’re less optimistic about economic conditions now than they were six months ago, a bigger share than either the spring 2012 or fall 2011 surveys.

For the first time since the survey began in the fall of 2008, however, perceptions of a weak economy or consumer confidence came in second among factors deemed likely to affect business over the next six months with 34 percent of respondents picking that factor. While 36 percent cited increased business costs due to new fees and regulations, 32 percent cited implementation of the federal health care reform law. Respondents could select more than one option.

While 22 percent of those responding to the latest survey said the local economy already has recovered, 18 percent expect recovery in 2013. A third of respondents don’t anticipate recovery until 2014.

While 69 percent of respondents expect staffing levels to remain the same, 16 percent said they anticipate increases and 16 percent foresee layoffs.

The share of those who expect sales to increase in the next six months fell 12 points to 25 percent.