Based on National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Producer Confidence Survey responses in April, the latest industry confidence index reached a 75.1 level for the first quarter of 2015—against the backdrop of a stock market at historic highs, companion economic indicators positive, and industry volume reports showing 2014 as the first year since 2008 when U.S. per capita ready mixed concrete consumption exceeded one yard.
While respondents were slightly less confident with the current economic climate, reporting a 66.5 confidence level, NRMCA finds a 74.3 confidence level for producers eyeing future market conditions. A quarterly gauge, the Producer Confidence Survey uses 2006, the best year for ready mixed concrete production and financial performance on record, as a baseline to assume a 100-point positive index. Overall, respondents reported a 71.2 level of economic confidence. As participation in the survey grows, NRMCA hopes to be able to provide regional/state results as well as the national perspective. Additional information on the Producer Confidence Index can be obtained from NRMCA Senior Vice President, Membership & Communications Kathleen Carr-Smith, [email protected].
BEST STATES FOR BUSINESS
Known for pro-growth policy and low taxes, Texas, Florida and North Carolina were tops among respondents to Chief Executive magazine’s 2015 “Best and Worst States for Business” survey, encompassing 500-plus CEOs across the U.S. The survey measures responses across the categories of Taxes and Regulations, Quality of Workforce, and Living Environment, which includes such considerations as quality of education, cost of living, affordable housing, social amenities, and crime rates.
In 2015, Texas remained the best state for business for the 11th year in row, followed by Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.2 million net jobs have been created in Texas, while 700,000 net jobs were created in the other 49 states combined. “California and Oregon are essentially anti-business, whereas Texas and Tennessee do everything possible to make business comfortable and more successful,” observes one survey respondent.
California ranks last in “Best and Worst States for Business,” followed by New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. CEOs gave the states the lowest ratings because of their high tax rates and regulatory environments. “The good states ask what they can do for you; the bad states ask what they can get from you,” affirms one chief executive participating in the survey.
Compared with 2014, Idaho has made the largest improvement in the CEO survey, rising 10 spots to number 18, primarily due to high growth rates in economic output, while South Dakota dropped eight places in the 2015 results, even though quality-of-life attractions enhance the state’s low-tax bona fides. State governments use the survey results to help determine how to improve their regulatory environments to attract more businesses, while corporations use the data to decide where to build facilities and attract vibrant workforces.