Eastside business leaders are bullish about the local economy and expect to see strong revenues and increased hiring in 2017, according to the most recent results of an annual survey conducted by the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce.

Eastside business leaders

From left to right, Joe Quinlan, Betty Capestany, Anthony DiBlasi, and Daniele Duke. Photo courtesy Bank of America.

The 2016 Business Leader Survey aims to gauge the mood and climate of the Eastside economy, with 72 percent of survey respondents being business owners and CEOs, and approximately 65 percent of respondent companies having been established on the Eastside for 15 years or more.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • Revenue: 76 percent of survey respondents expect revenues to be stronger in 2017 than in 2016, while 18 percent of survey respondents expect revenues to remain static;
  • Job Growth: 51 percent of survey respondents expect to do more hiring in 2017, with companies of 51 to 99 employees expecting to grow by 76 percent, and companies of 100 to 250 employees expecting to grow by 66 percent;
  • Challenges: Survey respondents cited the cost of health care; federal legislation; the state of the global economy; access to talent; transportation, infrastructure, and congestion; business taxation, regulation, and utilities rates; the regional economic climate; and housing availability as being some of the biggest concerns or factors that could impact their businesses next year;
  • Areas of Expansion: Workforce sectors that expect to do the most hiring next year include marketing and sales positions; administrative positions; and industry/technical specialists.

This year’s survey results were presented during the Chamber’s 23rd Annual Eastside Economic Forecast Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Bellevue. The November 17 event also marked the release of the Chamber’s 2017 Economic Strategy Guide, a 64-page document compiled annually to provide market intelligence, business insights, and other commerce-related information.

Eastside Economic Forecast Breakfast

Photo courtesy Bank of America.

Bank of America chief market strategist Joseph Quinlan returned to the Eastside to deliver a keynote speech on the state of the national and global economies during the breakfast. It’s something he has done every year for about the last 10 years.

“I love coming back out to Bellevue because it’s a leading dynamic cluster of the U.S. economy,” said Quinlan. “Every year, Bellevue has always been in the right spot. Bellevue kind of leads the national growth rate, it’s better with employment, it’s well positioned for trade, technology, and greater connectivity.”

Quinlan was optimistic that the American economy would grow above 3 percent, which has been about the normal rate in recent years. He was also encouraged by the potential for infrastructure spending and corporate tax reform. Conversely, a growing federal deficit and rising interest rates were among his concerns.

A complete copy of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Leader Survey and 2017 Economic Strategy Guide is available online by following the link here: http://cloud.flipb.com/bellevuechamber/2017EastsideEconomicStrategyGuide/index.html