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Hawaii Business BOSS Survey - December 2012

13 interesting facts from the BOSS survey

(page 1 of 2)

13 Insights from the BOSS survey of 401 local business leaders

Seven of the 13 are good news, one not so good and two are just plain odd. You decide about the other three.

Click here to download full 27-page survey.

1. Overall Economy Maintains Momentum

The BOSS survey’s Performance Index is at its highest level since the first quarter of 2008, which was when the Great Recession was just underway. The index accounts for revenue, profit and hiring at the 401 Hawaii companies surveyed, and all three measures are stronger than previous surveys a year ago and six months ago.


2. Most Optimism Since 2004

Almost half of the business leaders surveyed, 47 percent, predict the overall Hawaii economy will improve over the coming year. Forty percent say it will stay the same and only 13 percent believe it will decline.


3. Glass Only Half Full

Make no mistake: The BOSS survey shows strong performance overall from the 401 companies surveyed. However, if you look deeper, the powerful recovery in Hawaii companies’ revenues is not matched – at least not yet – by equally strong rebounds in hiring and profits. Three-quarters of all companies surveyed say they either held steady with the size of their workforces during the past year or cut staff.

Barbara Ankersmit, president of Qmark Research, the company that conducted the BOSS survey, says the results of this survey are consistent with similar surveys during past recoveries.

“We see many firms waiting first until overall revenues rebound and then holding until they see at least some improvement in profit levels before adding employees to the payroll,” Ankersmit says. “As we talked to businesses during the interviews, we definitely felt a sense of recovery, but we also were still seeing some caution.”


4. Big Companies Lead

On all three measures – revenue, hiring and profit – bigger companies have made the biggest gains, while smaller companies lag.


5. Less Bleeding, More Building Ahead

We were encouraged by the responses about businesses’ plans for the coming year. The executives were given three possible responses: substantial increase planned in spending on capital or other items; no substantial cost cutting or spending increase; or more cost cutting. For two years, the numbers for increased spending have slowly risen, while the trend is away from further cost cutting. That’s more reason for optimism about the near future for Hawaii’s economy.


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