At year end, businesses have confidence in the economy, with most predicting no recession in 2019.
In the December survey of 445 businesses, only 1% of respondents expect a recession in the next three months, while 8% expect one in three to six months.
Less than one-quarter (24%) believe a recession will arrive in the second half of the year.
Express experts expect steady growth in 2019. Janis Petrini, an Express Employment Professionals franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, says fears of a recession are overblown.
“The outlook is very similar to what we expected in 2018,” she said. “Growth and demand continue to remain strong. There is a significant amount of ‘talk’ around a recession or adjustment, but this mostly seems media driven as opposed to hard facts and actual experts within individual industries. Most clients see their own industry remaining strong. There may be some slowdown in the automotive sector, but this will be more of the industry returning to normal as opposed to receding.”
Over in Illinois, Terri Greeno, an Express franchise owner in Crystal Lake, notes that “2018 felt hotter” but that she still sees a “steady, slight uptick after the first quarter.”
According to Shane DeCoste, an Express Employment Professionals franchise owner in Halifax, Nova Scotia, “There are many positive indicators in a variety of industries that give us reason to believe that 2019 is going to start strong. We are hearing about continued plans for expansion and growth in 2019.”
Examples of such positive indicators include a construction materials manufacturer adding overnight shifts for the first time ever, a food production client tripling space and production capacity, and a leader in the construction and excavation business planning to grow their administrative and frontline staff by over 60% in 2019.
Michael Elliott, an Express franchise owner in London, Ontario, also expects “to see the strong hiring that took place in 2018 to continue into the new year.”
Both Elliott and DeCoste agree that job shortages will continue to be a problem in the new year.
“There is a shortage of job seekers since unemployment rates are so low,” said Elliott. “The biggest challenge for business in 2019 will be attracting and retaining top talent.”
“I know some people are uneasy at the end of 2018,” said Bill Stoller, CEO of Express. “But when you look at the big picture, the economy will begin 2019 on a strong footing. Even with such low unemployment, we have an abundance of jobs to fill, and wages have been on the rise. Clearly, there are concerns about what may happen toward the end of 2019, and there are always external forces beyond our control. For now, though, I’m predicting a happy economic new year.”
The survey of 445 businesses, which are current and former clients of Express Employment Professionals, was conducted in December 2018 to gauge respondents’ expectations for 2019.