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Chicago midmarket execs optimistic about the future

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Chicago midmarket execs optimistic about the future

85% believe the US economy is in “good” or “fair” condition.

Chicago-area mid-size business owners and managers are seeing signs of progress in the economic recovery on both a local and national level, according to a recent survey by Chicago-based bank Cole Tyler.

Of the business leaders responding to the Cole Taylor Business Owners Confidence Index survey for the second half of 2013, 85% saw the U.S. economy in good or fair condition, while nearly 80% felt the Chicago economy was in good or fair condition.  The levels of those who saw the economy in poor condition were at their lowest level since the survey began in the spring of 2012.

Nearly half (45%) reported higher sales volumes over the previous quarter. More than 55% plan to expand their business in the next twelve months, with 61% planning on doing so in Illinois, up from 47% who reported in the spring 2013 survey that they planned to expand in Illinois.  Staffing levels remained steady with 64% of respondents saying they were keeping staffing levels flat in the next quarter with 27% planning to add staff and only 9% planning staff reductions.

"The levels of those who saw the economy in poor condition were at their lowest level since the survey began in the spring of 2012."

However, respondents continued to criticize national and local economic policy.  U.S. economic policy was rated poor by 58% of the business leaders while the state of Illinois' policies were rated poor by 85%.  Locally, business leaders expect a flat economy over the next three months, with 76% seeing no change in Chicago area economic conditions.

When asked if Illinois elected officials should have term limits, 82% of the entrepreneurs overwhelmingly favored amending the Illinois constitution to do so.  Regarding solutions to the state's ongoing pension crisis, 80% favored reducing public worker pension benefits.  Compared to one year ago, fewer respondents support expanding casino gambling and reducing state employee staffing levels as solutions.

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