NABE April 2014 Industry Survey - Summary


New NABE Survey Shows Sales Grew at Fewer Firms in the First Quarter of 2014; Expectations for Stronger Growth Continue


The April 2014 NABE Industry Survey report presents the responses of 72 NABE members to a survey conducted between March 18–April 1, 2014, on business conditions in their firms or industries, and reflects first-quarter 2014 results and the near-term outlook. 

COMMENTS: “Buffeted by a very rough winter, sales grew at fewer firms during the first quarter; however, survey participants continue to report strong expectations for increased growth over the course of 2014,” said NABE President Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist at the National Retail Federation. “Results from NABE’s April 2014 Industry Survey suggest that growth continues at a majority of respondents’ firms. The number of firms reporting increasing profit margins fell slightly, with more panelists reporting rising materials and wage costs. Thirty-one percent of respondents expect their firms to raise selling prices in the coming quarter— less than the 43% of respondents in the January survey who expected their firms to raise prices in the first quarter. As before, a little more than one-fourth of respondents’ firms added employees last quarter, and one-quarter of the firms report shortages of skilled labor. The percentage of survey panelists who expect their firms to add workers or increase overall capital spending increased strongly from that reported in the January survey.”

“Panelists overwhelmingly expect the economy to grow at least 2%, after taking inflation into account, over the next 12 months,” said Ken Simonson, Survey Analyst and Chief Economist, Associated General Contractors of America. 

“A strong majority of respondents (79%) expect the Federal Reserve to remain on its previously announced path of continued monetary policy accommodation, and to end its bond-buying program by the end of 2014. Panelists’ views on how to address the current fiscal deficit are divided, but a clear plurality of survey respondents favors reducing the deficit via a mix of increased spending restraint and revenue growth.

“Finally, survey respondents note that they expect wage growth to remain fairly subdued, rising between zero and 3% over the next three years. They also expect unemployment rates to eventually fall to between 5 and 6% as the nation continues on its path to recovery over the next three years.”