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Signs of Optimism Among U.S. Business Leaders
Apr 11, 2013
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Business leaders in the United States showed signs of increased optimism in the performance of the nation's economy in the first quarter of 2013, according to the latest data from the Grant Thornton International Business Report. The report also showed higher global business optimism.

The company surveys 3,200 business leaders in 44 countries. In the survey report for the first quarter of 2013, optimism among U.S. business leaders rose from -4%, in the fourth quarter of 2012, to 31%.

IBR data shows improved sentiment in most areas of business performance and stability:
* U.S. business leaders expecting revenues to increase in 2013 rose eight points from 4Q 2012.
* Profitability expectations rose sharply--up 14 points from 4Q 2012.
* Hiring expectations in the United States are still above the global average. A net balance 29% of U.S. business leaders expect an increase in hiring in the coming year. This is up four points from 4Q 2012 and five points over the global average.

"With the fiscal cliff and presidential election behind us, the anxiety has seemingly lessened among business executives," said Stephen Chipman, CEO of Grant Thornton LLP. "While uncertainty is still present, it's encouraging to see such a large increase in optimism among the nation's business leaders--particularly when it comes to employment, which is key to US economic health."

Global business optimism in the survey is reported at its highest level since early 2011. A net global balance of 27% of businesses are optimistic about the economic outlook, up from 4% in 4Q 2012. The world two biggest economies, after the United States, also show increased optimism:
* Optimism among businesses in China was up from a net balance of 19% in 4Q 2012 to 29% in 1Q 2013.
* Optimism among businesses in Japan was up dramatically, from a net balance of -70% in 4Q 2012 to -2% in 1Q 2013.

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