Northwest business owners feel good about the economic outlook for 2006, but some worry about rising interest rates and increasing health care costs.
That’s the finding of a survey by the Rainier Group, a Bellevue consulting firm.
“The forecast for 2006 is optimistic, but slightly shadowed by the potential for negative impacts,” said Robert Gruber, the firm’s president. “Key indicators indicate that some risk factors may be increasing.”
The survey focused on the opinions of operators of large, privately owned businesses, mostly in Washington and Oregon.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Washington business owners rated the business environment for their companies at 6.9, down from 7.4 in April.
Across the Northwest, 52 percent of business owners said they plan to hire more staff in the next six months, down from 64 percent in April.
And 76 percent said they expect their revenues to increase in the next six months, down from 96 percent in April.
Thirty-five percent of those surveyed said they were worried about inflation and interest rate hikes, 22 percent worried about the cost of health insurance and 20 percent were concerned about fuel prices.
The survey also suggested business owners lacked confidence in government. The survey asked respondents about their faith in the ability of government leaders. On a scale of 1 to 10, local and state leaders were ranked at 4.4, while national leaders were ranked slightly higher at 5.3.
Reporter Bryan Corliss: 425-339-3454 or email@example.com.