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BOSS Survey: Optimism & Concern

Hawaii companies forecast overall economy and reveal staff and spending plans for coming year

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Link to KHON 2 story on the BOSS Survey Data Release Event 6/2/2010


The Business Outlook and Sentiment Survey (BOSS) was conducted by QMark Research using a list of Hawaii companies purchased from Equifax Polk Business Directory. The sample of companies was stratified based on number of employees. Small businesses were divided into two sub-groups. Businesses with 3 to 9 employees were designated as “very small” and those with 10 to 49 employees were designated as “small.” Medium-size firms had 50 to 99 employees, while companies with 100 or more employees were classified as “large.” The goal was a targeted sample of 100 businesses in each sector.

A total of 403 random interviews on all the major islands were conducted by telephone by professional QMark interviewers from April 13 to April 22. The interview was with the owner or other senior executive listed in the Equifax directory. If that person was not available, the BOSS surveyer asked for “someone who is knowledgeable about your company, either the President/Vice-President or Manager.” The BOSS data were weighted to reflect the proper proportions of each company segment based on number of employees as reported by the state Department of Labor. A sample of this size has a margin of error of +/- 4.90 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.


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Performance Index

This composite index measures and compiles three crucial factors from all the companies surveyed: changes in staffing, gross revenues and profit before taxes over the past year. It stands at 88, its lowest point in similar surveys conducted by QMark Research over the past 12 years.


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Optimism Index

This index reveals businesses’ outlook for Hawaii’s economic future. It stands at 110, much higher than last year’s all-time low of 80. For a breakdown of the companies’ responses, see “economic outlook” on the next page. Both this index and the Performance Index started in 1998 at a benchmark of 100.


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More optimism, but it’s still a minority view

Thirty percent of the businesses polled believe the economic outlook for Hawaii will improve in the coming year. That’s a huge increase from last year. Slightly more (38%) expect little or no change in the economy, while 32% feel things will get worse.




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Economic outlook by company size

Generally, the bigger the company, the greater the optimism for the overall economy.


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Almost all companies cut staff or held steady

Ten percent of the businesses polled have increased staffing over the past year. Half (51%) say staffing levels have remained unchanged while 38% report declines in their number of employees. Those percentages have changed little from a year ago.



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Small companies made fewest changes in staffing



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