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Manufacturing plant in New York last year. Photo: Noam Galai via Getty Images

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.

Data: National Association for Business Economics quarterly survey of 97 panelists from private sector companies and industry trade associations; Chart: Axios Visuals
  • 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.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Chevron posts another quarterly loss under weight of pandemic

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Chevron posted another quarterly loss Friday in the latest sign of how the pandemic is still weighing on oil companies despite some price recovery during the second half of the year.

Driving the news: The oil giant reported a $665 million loss for the October-December period, but it shrinks to $11 million on an adjusted basis after considering charges on its acquisition of Noble Energy and "foreign currency effects."

Jack Dorsey to step down as Twitter CEO

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jack Dorsey will step down as CEO of Twitter, the company announced Monday. He will be succeeded by CTO Parag Agrawal.

The big picture: Dorsey is also the CEO of financial payments company Square, which he co-founded in 2009, and has become a crypto evangelist in recent years.

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.