A survey conducted among US businesses by the National Association for Business Economics shows that forecasts are good for the second quarter. Many businesses reported a slow-moving first quarter in 2015, but are optimistic about quarter two and plan to boost hiring and pay. 49 percent of businesses surveyed said their sales increased in the first quarter of 2015 from the last three months in 2014, which may seem like a decent amount, but at the same time last year 54 percent of businesses were saying the same thing. First quarter growth has gone down since last year, but there is optimism surrounding the second quarter.
Most economists expect growth in the second quarter and attribute the first quarter’s failures to one of the harshest winters on record along with labor disputes at West Costs ports and a jump in the value of the US dollar. News.com.au reports that John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo and president of the National Association for Business Economics, said, “Growth in the first quarter appears to be an outlier within the broader economic outlook.”
The survey conducted by Silvia’s association reached out to 77 companies nationwide and incorporated a large variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, finance, and hotels and restaurants. Nearly half of these companies has over 1,000 employees, and a quarter has less than 10. Another promising sign for quarter two is that the percentage of companies that raised their pay in the first three months of the year sky-rocketed from the low 30 percents in the past two years to 41 percent this year.