The majority of respondents to a rolling survey of North Carolina businesses launched in October expressed optimism for the future of their businesses and reported they were meeting or exceeding revenue goals, according to preliminary results from the state’s new Business Pulse Survey.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce administers the Pulse survey, in partnership with the NCWorks Commission and myFutureNC, with the Duke Energy Foundation providing financial support for the initiative. The survey project aims to provide insights into the state of the economy and comes in the wake of rapid change during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need timely input from business leaders of diverse sectors and industries across our state in order to gain a better understanding of changing needs,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, who is a member of both the NCWorks Commission and the myFutureNC Board of Directors. “The data collected will help economic development, workforce development and education agencies make informed decisions about how to support post-pandemic recovery for employers, jobseekers and communities.”
The Pulse survey includes input from a diverse set of businesses across the state, from very large major employers to local small businesses, with about half having fewer than 10 employees. The industry categories were also diverse, including Professional and Business Services, Manufacturing, Hospitality, Health Care, and Construction among other sectors.
According to preliminary findings from October:
- Business optimism in the state is high
- Almost half of businesses expected business conditions to improve in the next 6 months
- Many planned to increase wages and training for their workers, and technology investments for their business
- The majority of respondents planned to increase staffing levels in the next 6 months
- The majority of respondents said they are meeting or exceeding their revenue goals
- Although optimistic, businesses did express some concerns:
- More than two thirds of respondents were concerned about adequate staffing levels and thought it would be just as hard or harder to find qualified workers in the next 6 months
Findings from the survey’s November results largely echoed this mix of optimism and ongoing concerns, and more details will be released through the N.C. Commerce website in coming months.
The Commerce Department continues to recruit additional businesses to join the Business Pulse Survey -- which involves answering a brief, three-minute survey each month. The department seeks to include business voices from all areas of the state and all business domains in the survey.
Participants should be people in positions of leadership who make business decisions, especially those related to hiring, and can speak with authority on their organizations’ operational challenges. These can include business owners, CEOs, managers or human resources directors. Only one person from each business should take the survey. Participants must commit to completing the short survey once per month, for six months. That amount of data will allow analysts to measure changes in conditions, attitudes and behaviors over time.
In addition to informing policymakers, results of the survey will also benefit participating businesses by providing insights regarding conditions being seen by peer businesses and industries throughout the state.
Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division (LEAD) implements the Business Pulse Survey and analyzes the data to identify how conditions, needs and expectations are changing over time.
To join the survey, business representatives may visit nccommerce.com/pulse.