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NABE Study: Businesses optimistc about economy, majority not hiring

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To some, the economy is improving. To others, the economy hasn’t gotten any better since the beginning of the Great Recession and economic collapse in 2007 and 2008. According to one study, though, businesses are quite optimistic about 2014 and the economy, but that positive outlook isn’t turning into hiring.

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) released the results of a new study Monday and it found that businesses are continuing to feel that they will perform better throughout the year. Out of the 64 members who answered the organization’s survey, most saw higher sales at the end of 2013 – nearly half (43 percent) say they will modestly increase prices in the next several months.

A majority of respondents said they don’t believe the Federal Reserve’s $10 billion tapering or President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, will impact their businesses.

Close to three quarters of businesses (70 percent) see the economy growing between 2.1 and three percent this year, a figure that has barely changed since October, though it is higher than the Fed’s projection of 2.3 percent.

Despite the encouraging picture that private enterprises are providing in the study, only about one-third (37 percent) of survey participants plan to create jobs within the next six months. The sectors that are most likely to boost hiring initiatives were finance, insurance, manufacturing and real estate.

During the fourth quarter of last year, only roughly one-quarter of businesses expanded their payrolls.

“The outlook for 2014 is strengthening. Results from NABE’s January 2014 Industry Survey suggest that economic growth accelerated to a moderate pace during the fourth quarter of 2013 from its modest pace the previous quarter,” said NABE President Jack Kleinhenz, Principal and Chief Economist at Kleinhenz and Associates, in a statement.

“On net, survey respondents are more optimistic in their economic outlook and, regardless of any changes in monetary policy, expect their firms’ performance in 2014 will be superior to that in 2013.”

This study comes as a new poll found that a majority of Americans (74 percent) still feel as if the United States economy was still in a recession. On top of this, 40 percent of survey participants said the president’s policies have hurt the economy, while one-third say they haven’t made any difference either way.

Furthermore, the study discovered 62 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, while 53 percent disapprove of the way President Obama is handling his job.

It’s no surprise that many Americans aren’t overly optimistic about the economy: the real unemployment rate is in the low- to mid-20s, the national debt is astronomical, 40 million Americans are on food stamps and one-third of the country receives some sort of assistance each month from the federal government.

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