As individuals we tend to be optimistic, especially when it comes to our personal situation and events over which we have some degree of control. I had this point in mind when designing the "One Question Survey sent out on December 17 – as well as wanting to get a picture of what our members are looking forward to in 2019…
The question was: “Thinking in terms of the broader economy, and in terms of your specific industry, please rank your level of optimism for 2019.” Possible responses (from worst to best) included:
- (1) The End Is Near!
- (2) We’ll Get Through This Somehow
- (3) Steady As A Rock
- (4) Things Are Looking Up!
- (5) We’re In The Money!
For the broader economy, views generally skewed negative. While no one selected “The End Is Near!,” only 14% of respondents demonstrated optimism for the broader economy in 2019 (responses 4 and 5). Nearly half (49 percent) said “We’ll Get Through This Somehow,” with the remainder (38 percent) anticipating no significant up- or down-side in the coming year.
Yet when it comes to individual industries (where one presumes to have some influence on the outcome), responses skewed slightly more positive. While we did get one “The End Is Near,” over one-third of respondents (34%) selected “Things Are Looking Up” or “We’re In The Money,” with another 43% choosing “Solid As A Rock.” (I’ve summarized the results in the table below for more clarity – totals may not equal 100% due to rounding).
|The End Is Near!||We’ll Get Through This Somehow||Steady As A Rock.||Things Are Looking Up!||We’re In The Money!|
|The Broader Economy||0%||49%||38%||11%||3%|
|My Specific Industry||1%||22%||43%||27%||7%|
You may like to note that the National Association of Manufacturers recently released the results of its quarterly Manufacturer’s Outlook Survey, which showed that for 2018 as a whole, manufacturers were more positive about their own company’s outlook that ever (the 92.4% recorded was an all-time high). However, the trend is reversing: when asked in October the positive rate was 92.5%, and in December the rate was 88.7%.
We’ll keep doing surveys like this every two or three weeks – some will be more serious, and others more light-hearted. If you have a suggestion for a future question, please let me know!