Key company sales gauge recovers to pre-pandemic level
A key sales gauge has recovered past its pre-pandemic level, according to a new quarterly survey of business conditions by the National Association for Business Economics.
Why it matters: It’s another sign of businesses bouncing back from the depths of the pandemic recession, even with soaring coronavirus cases and a full economic recovery still far off.
- More companies said profits margins were rising (30%) versus falling (16%), compared to the 21% and 25% respectively reported in the previous survey released in October. 53% reported no change.
What they’re saying: “Momentum has continued to build, and survey respondents seem much more positive about the future today,” Manuel Balmaseda, chief economist at materials supplier CEMEX and NABE president, said in a release.
Other findings: An index measuring businesses’ plans to add workers over the next three months jumped 20 points to the highest level since Q2 2019.
- The net number of respondents reporting higher prices charged for products surged 14 points from October, largely because of higher prices charged by goods-producing firms.
- Most (60%) expect prices charged to hold steady over the next three months. 35% expect prices to rise, compared to 26% that said so in the last survey.
- A gauge for the number of firms reporting more expensive materials tripled in the latest survey.
Worth noting: Almost half (46%) of respondents said neither the vaccine rollout or the Biden administration impacted expectations for company sales, hiring or capital spending expectations.
- But 37% said it impacts their outlook positively, while 5% said there’s a negative effect.