Net Employment Outlook (NEO) – Q2 2022
Business leaders’ expectations of future growth are a powerful thing. These are the individuals that understand their organizations better than anyone else, and they are incentivized to adapt them to meet evolving market conditions. More than that, their perceptions and actions can shape economic trends – an owner that expects growth can invest in the growth of their company, thereby ensuring growth occurs. Through a quarterly business pulse survey, the Greater Akron Chamber regularly measures business leader expectations on growth, and from aggregated results we develop an understanding of the health and trajectory of the business community.
Net employment outlook is the difference between the % of employers that expect to increase employment in the coming period, minus the % of employers that expect to decrease employment in the coming period. So if 45% of surveyed leaders expect to increase their staff in the next quarter, 30% expect no change, and 25% expect to decrease their staff, then the net employment outlook is 45% – 25% = 20%.
Net employment outlook can be anywhere from +100% to -100%. A high net employment outlook tells us that hiring is strong, unemployment will decline, and businesses’ demand is strong relative to current levels of production. A low net employment outlook implies that demand is declining, unemployment will increase, and that generally the economy isn’t performing well.
In the second quarter of this year, the net employment outlook of Greater Akron stood at 36%. That is, 41% of respondents said they expect to increase their staff size over the next quarter, and to 5% that expect to decrease their staff. Compare that 41% to the net employment outlook from recent quarters: 43% in Q1 ’22, 39% in Q4 ’21, 37% in Q3 ’21, and 43% in Q2 ’21. Looking outside of our region, the Q2 2022 net employment outlooks of 38% for the United States and 29% globally.
There’s good reason for employers to have been in hiring mode over the past year and more, as the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic triggered a staggering loss of more than 55,000 jobs in the Akron area. Our business community is resilient, and we’ve added back over 47,000 of these lost jobs – the persistence of a relatively high net employment outlook tells us we’re still on a strong path of growth and that we’ll surpass our pre-pandemic employment high in the near future.
One reason that many of our businesses have been able to weather the storm, to survive the economic downturn and public health crisis, is that our municipal and county governments have prioritized small businesses in their Covid relief efforts. For example, Summit County’s COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program sent over $12 million to over 3,000 small businesses to help keep them afloat. Similarly, the City of Akron is currently running a grant program designed to provide financial assistance to Akron businesses located in a Qualified Census Tract. With the support of local leaders, our business community remains an engine driving our region to greater prosperity and growth.
For more information, or if you would like to be included in the Quarterly Business Pulse Survey, please contact Smaranda Ene, Research Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org.