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CPA Business Leaders Predict Better Ohio Economy in 2004

Tony Eufinger, Manager, Public Relations

More than 60 percent of Ohio’s CPA business leaders predict Ohio’s economy will improve in 2004, with increased capital investments and a stabilizing job market driving the expansion. The forecast is based on the results of a new survey released this week by The Ohio Society of CPAs.

The State of Ohio Business Poll surveyed CPAs holding senior positions in Ohio businesses of all size, including partners in CPA firms, about their collective expectations for economic conditions and the business climate for 2004. The electronic poll drew responses from 733 CPAs between Nov. 4 and 11.

More than half of the CPAs (51 percent) forecast increased capital investments in Ohio, while 41 percent anticipated capital investment to remain consistent with 2003 levels. Forty-two percent predicted expansion in Ohio’s job market. Forty-four percent predicted little change, but only 13 percent foreshadowed fewer jobs available for Ohioans in 2004. Respondents identified health care as the number one growth industry next year. About 60 percent of respondents statewide identified the economy as the top concern facing Ohio.

“CPAs work closely with Ohio’s top businesses and possess unique insights into business plans for the coming year,” says J. Clarke Price, president of The Ohio Society of CPAs. “Our members believe those businesses are beginning to reinvest in Ohio.”

However, Price points to other findings that indicate a need for reforms on taxes, regulations on businesses and excessive litigation awards.

Survey participants rated Ohio’s government and regulatory climate as needing improvement, with over three-fourths describing it as fair (52 percent) or poor (27 percent). Only one percent rated the overall Ohio business climate as excellent. Additionally, equal percentages of survey participants felt the general direction of Ohio business was not encouraging (39 percent) or neutral (41 percent). Only 20 percent described the direction in positive terms.

“We read the overall results to be good news for 2004,” says Price. “But the responses also show there are several factors preventing Ohio businesses from reaching their full growth potential.” 

A full copy of the executive summary of the State of Ohio Business Poll is available at The Ohio Society’s Web site: http://www.ohioscpa.com.