Survey Reponses Reflect Positive Business Outlook for Fargo Moorhead MSA
Thanks to a strategic relationship with the Federal Reserve 9th District (Minneapolis), the GFMEDC reviews quarterly General Business Conditions survey data from Cass and Clay Counties businesses to ascertain the most recent and future business outlook of our companies compared to the District’s service territory (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan).
Recently, the GFMEDC shared some of the General Business Conditions survey with its board of directors. There was a lot of positive sentiment for the region that came out of the July data, including:
- The FM region is more optimistic regarding revenues and profits in the next three months.
- 60% of FM respondents expect moderate to significant increases in revenues compared to 9th District respondents at 38%.
- 50% expect modestly to significantly higher profits compared to 9th District respondents at 32%.
- When asked about the two greatest challenges to current operations, FM region respondents said #1 Labor availability for open positions followed by #2 Higher interest rates and financing costs. Ninth District respondents said #1 Higher interest rates and financing costs followed by #2 Price increases for nonlabor inputs.
FM region’s concern for labor availability was seen in other data points throughout the survey:
- 63% of FM region respondents feel that the ability to hire labor is moderately to extremely difficult compared to 57% of 9th District respondents.
- 51% of FM Region report applicants do not have the right skills or experience compared to 9th District at 28%.
- 53% of FM Region expect modestly to significantly higher staffing levels in next six months compared to 9th District at 19%.
- FM region respondents are willing to do more to attract and retain talent than 9th district counterparts.
- FM regional employers are more willing to increase wages (72% vs. 56%), training opportunities (46% vs. 27%) and implement flexible schedules (44% vs. 34%) to attract and retain workers compared to the 9th District.
- FM region respondents receive supplies somewhat to significantly better (60%) than their 9th district counterparts (29%).
- 60% of FM Region respondents are somewhat to very optimistic regarding their 6-month business outlook compared to 9th District at 42%.
The aggregation of these responses speaks well to the fact that 60% of FM Region respondents are somewhat to very optimistic regarding their 6-month business outlook compared to 9th District at 42%.
We expect to continue seeing the survey results being reported, which are consistent with the data we’ve collected over the past year, requiring a concerted effort to attract and retain the skilled workforce our companies need. That’s why the GFMEDC is implementing the region’s first comprehensive workforce recruitment campaign to attract individuals who can help fill the more than 7,500 regional jobs available.
Our work the Federal Reserve is one of many data partnerships the GFMEDC has cultivated to support data-driven decision making by leveraging collaborations to gain better results for everyone involved.
For this survey, we specifically analyzed data from the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Manufacturing, Professional Service and Other industries (40 responses), as these are most closely aligned with the industries of primary-sector companies. We compared this data set to the same industry set for the rest of the 9th District (221 responses).
The respondents to the General Business Conditions survey do not come from a random or representative sample, so results should be interpreted carefully.
This survey analysis comes from GFMEDS’s interpretation of the data, not from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.