The Ninth District economy continues its expansion, according to a May survey of 232 business contacts from around the district (see methodology). At about the same rate as a similar January poll, 41 percent plan to increase employment at their firms and only 8 percent plan to decrease employment.
Important factors cited for new hiring were increased sales, overworked staff, finding workers with new skills and less economic uncertainty. Businesses plan to obtain the workers through word of mouth and advertising. Seventeen percent plan to raise starting pay, compared with only 9 percent of respondents in the January poll.
For those respondents not planning to hire additional people this year, most said expected sales were low, and many reported that they wanted to keep costs down. A quarter reported that uncertainty about health insurance costs was the most important reason for not hiring.
Methodology: On May 13, the Minneapolis Fed invited, via email, about 1,000 Beige Book contacts from around the Ninth District to answer special questions in a web-based survey. By May 14, 232 contacts had filled out the survey. The respondents come from a variety of industries.