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Business services firms optimistic about economy

Seventy-seven percent of Minnesota firms that specialize in business services are optimistic about the outlook for the state economy. They anticipate their sales revenue to grow or remain stable in the coming year, according to a survey by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

That response from a random sample of 237 professional business services firms was an improvement from a year ago, when 70 percent said they anticipated increasing or stable sales revenue.

Business services firms, which include legal, public relations, engineering and accounting consultants, were also optimistic about profits. Seventy-five percent said they expect them to increase or remain stable in the next four quarters, compared with 62 percent a year earlier.

Among other findings in the survey:

• 70 percent said their revenues improved or were the same in the past year.

• 73 percent said labor availability was stable in the past year, while 54 percent said work productivity was unchanged.

• 50 percent said costs rose in the past year.

• 90 percent anticipate higher or stable worker productivity in the coming year.

• 84 percent expect increasing or stable employment statewide in the coming year.

• 80 percent said they have not hired more part-time workers in response to the Affordable Care Act.

The full report is available on the DEED website at www.tinyurl.