The Tennessee Business Barometer Index hit a record high following the election of President Donald Trump, according to the latest online survey by MTSU's Jones College of Business.
The quarterly index rose to 470 this month, up from 177 in October and 153 in July.
"The largest gain was seen in the outlook for the future of the economy," reported Dr. Tim Graeff, MTSU professor of marketing and coordinator of the index through the Jones College's Office of Consumer Research. "This follows Donald Trump's election in the presidential election and signals newfound optimism among business leaders."
The overall index score is totaled from four sub-indices measured in the 17-question survey: current economic situation, future economic expectations, business/firm performance and employment outlook.
Asked a series of questions about the potential impact of Trump's presidency in the latest survey, the vast majority (73 percent) of Tennessee business leaders expect Trump's election to have a positive effect on the American economy resulting from reduced taxes and decreased regulation.
"Such upturns in optimism can lead to increased investments and hiring, which can have subsequent positive effects leading to growth in the overall economy," Graeff said.
Business leaders remain concerned about being able to find enough qualified employees.
The quarterly index is a collaboration between Middle Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry to capture the mood and outlook of business leaders. The index is computed by adding the percentage of positive responses to each question and subtracting the percentage of negative responses. The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325.
The current online survey of 66 business leaders from across Tennessee was conducted Jan. 17-27. The margin of error is 12 percent. Respondents included business owners, vice presidents, senior managers, and managers at firms of various sizes. The next Tennessee Business Barometer survey is planned for April.