Survey: Economy top concern

About 65 percent of U.S. executives say the economy is their number one concern, followed by fuel costs (23 percent) and health insurance (15 percent), according to results of a business survey conducted by trucking firm Saia Inc.

“Small to medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Rick O’Dell, Saia president and CEO. “Normally, you would expect business leaders to be more upbeat coming out of a downturn like we recently experienced. I am encouraged by several of the survey’s findings including those regarding staffing and supply chain expenditures.”

More than one-third (39 percent) of those surveyed say capital expenditures will be the same in 2011 as in 2010. Capital expenditures for 2011 will be higher according to one-third (33 percent) of business executives. More than one-quarter (28 percent) say capital expenditures will be less in 2011 than in 2010.

Supporting their concern of uncertainty, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of executives say they plan on maintaining the same number of employees for the next 12 months as they have today. Seventeen percent of those surveyed say their company plans to increase employment in the next 12 months, while 11 percent say they plan to reduce their current staffing levels.

With regard to shipping, executives say their 2011 budgets are increasing when it comes to:
• Less-than-truckload (46 percent);
• Truckload (20 percent);
• Expedited shipping (19 percent);
• Guaranteed shipping (18 percent);
• Distribution (15 percent);
• International (13 percent); and
• 3PL (2 percent).

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