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Great Expectations: BMO Harris Bank Study Finds That Business Owners in California Feel Good About Prospects for 2014

IRVINE, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/15/14 --


  • 96 percent of business owners feel that their business will either grow or remain at the same level in 2014.
  • Business owners in California are confident in prospects for U.S. economy, and even more optimistic when it comes to state economy in California:
    • 84 percent believe that the U.S. economy will either improve or stay the same this year.
    • 92 percent feel that the state economy in California will either improve or stay the same.

BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found that business owners in California are very positive in their outlook for the national economy, the state economy and their own business prospects in 2014. More than 90 percent see the economy in California either improving or staying the same, and 84 percent feel the same way about the national economy.

"Business owners in California have confidence in the direction of our national economy, and even more confidence in the direction of our state's economy," said Dave Casper, Executive Vice President and Head, Commercial Banking, BMO Harris Bank. "This bodes very well for the future -- economic confidence leads to capital investment, which brings with it job creation and future growth."

California-based respondents were asked specifically if they believe that their business will grow, stay the same, or shrink in 2014.

  • 51 percent predicted their business to grow in 2014.
  • 45 percent expected to stay at the same level.
  • 4 percent believe their business will shrink in 2014.

When respondents in California were asked about the prospects for the state economy:

  • 42 percent expect the state's economy to improve.
  • 50 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 8 percent expect the state's economy to worsen.

The findings were also positive when business owners in California were asked about their forecast for the U.S. economy:

  • 42 percent of respondents in California feel that U.S. economy will improve in 2014.
  • 42 percent believe it will stay the same.
  • 16 percent believe of respondents in California believe it will worsen.

Respondents were also asked to identify what they felt was the largest advantage to doing business in California compared to elsewhere in the United States. Answers were varied, but the top three were:

  • Technology/Technical Expertise (20 percent)
  • Climate/Weather (9 percent)
  • Good location (8 percent)

National Results from the Survey

When business owners throughout the country were asked about their expectations for the economy, the results were as follows:

  • 37 percent expect the economy to improve.
  • 34 percent expect it to stay the same.
  • 29 percent expect the economy to worsen.

Owners of businesses with revenues over $20 million per year were significantly more optimistic, both in their own prospects and in their outlook for the economy:

  • 68 percent feel their business will grow in 2014, vs. 53 percent of all businesses.
  • 45 percent feel the U.S. economy will improve in 2014, vs. 37 percent for all businesses.

Survey findings can be found at the BMO Harris Commercial Resource Center:
https://resourcecenter.bmoharris.com/tags/bmo-harris-business-outlook-survey/1666

Positive Forecast for 2014 from BMO Economics

A recent report from BMO Economics on U.S. economic prospects for 2014 was considerably upbeat, given a combination of record levels of household wealth, lower debt, lower gas prices and improved prospects for employment.

"The clouds are parting, and therefore we're forecasting GDP growth of 2.9 percent for the coming year," said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. "We foresee increased consumer spending and business investment along with export growth and improved household finances all playing a part in creating strong growth in 2014."

The survey was conducted by Pollara with an online sample of 601 American business owners (including an oversample of 50 California owners) in November, 2013. A probability sample of this size would be accurate to +/- 4%, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Harris Bank
BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris® and BMO Harris Bank® are trade names used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and approximately CDN $537 billion in assets (as of Oct. 31, 2013).

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