Survey: Outlook brightens |

Survey: Outlook brightens

John Seelmeyer
Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Employers in northern Nevada see signs of improvement in 2012, including modest increases in sales, the likelihood of some additional hiring and even the possibility of raises for some employees.

A survey that included responses from 146 employers in Nevada – most of them in northern Nevada – by Employer Associations of America found that executives in the region clearly are convinced the recovery is moving forward.

More than 35 percent of the northern Nevada companies said they expect the economy in 2012 will be stronger than a year earlier, and 53 percent said they expect little change.

Only 11 percent said they expect the economy to worsen this year. Nearly 16 percent of the northern Nevada executives who were surveyed expect a significant increase in sales this year, and 44.5 percent said they expect a slight uptick in revenue during 2012.

“We continue to see an optimistic trend,” said James Nelson, executive director of the Nevada Association of Employers. The association, whose members participated in the national group’s survey, is weighted heavily toward companies in northern Nevada.

The relative optimism about sales is translating into some plans for new investment and new hiring.

About 32 percent of the companies that were surveyed said they expect significant new investments in plants, equipment and people at their home office location during 2012.

On the other hand, 59.6 percent said they will remain on the sidelines this year.

Some hiring plans are being dusted off, the Employer Associations of America survey found.

Twenty-four percent of the employers say they will expect to increase their staffing during 2012, with much of the hiring front-loaded into the first half of the year.

Why isn’t there more hiring? Nearly half of the executives that were surveyed said they still worry about further economic decline and another 20 percent say demand from consumers remains soft.

The remaining 30 percent said hiring plans are stifled by some factor related to government – regulations, tax rates, government debt loads.

As they think through their wage and salary strategy for this year, nearly half of the employers said they are looking at raises this year. About 30 percent said they are looking at some sort of bonus awards.

The number that are looking to cut pay or freeze wages, however, is dropping dramatically from 2011. Last year, wage freeze or cuts were implemented by about 36 percent of the employers surveyed; this year, that’s a strategy under consideration by about 25 percent.

The full report

The complete Economic Trends Survey by the Employers Associations of America – including detailed state-by-state results – is available on the Web site of the Nevada Association of Employers,

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