DURHAM – A new poll shows Granite Staters’ perceptions of business and economic conditions show they believe the situation in the state will improve, with optimism reaching its highest level in nine years. But New Hampshire residents remain pessimistic about the future nationwide business climate.
The University of New Hampshire Survey Center polled 510 New Hampshire adults between March 24 and April 1 for the latest Business and Industry Association (BIA) Report on Consumer Confidence.
According to the survey center, New Hampshire residents’ expectations that the Granite State will experience good business conditions in the upcoming year continue to increase, reversing a steep drop last fall.
Fifty-four percent of those polled believe state businesses will enjoy good times financially over the next year, while 26 percent think they will experience bad times, and 20 percent anticipate mixed conditions.
“This is the most confident New Hampshire residents have been about business prospects in the state since July 2005,” the survey center said
“The level of confidence about business performance in New Hampshire continues to increase, which is very encouraging,” said BIA President Jim Roche. “Consumer confidence is a huge factor in economic activity. In fact, the survey shows Granite Staters who think it’s a good time to buy a major household item is at its highest level in seven years.
“Interestingly, the same level of confidence is not shared when reflecting on national business performance,” Roche said. “This dichotomy should serve as a reminder to New Hampshire policy makers to stay focused on making New Hampshire the most business friendly place in the Northeast, a place where companies from all over the U.S. will look to create jobs.”
The view of business conditons in the nation as a whole is much different. The poll showed 38 percent of New Hampshire adults think businesses in the country will experience positive times financially over the next 12 months, 41 percent think businesses will have bad times, and 21 percent think conditions will be mixed.
The poll indicated New Hampshire residents remain pessimistic about the long-term prospects for the U.S economy. Only 27 percent of New Hampshire residents believe that the U.S. economy will enjoy good times over the next five years, 46 percent expect periods of widespread unemployment and depression, and 26 percent see a mix of good and bad conditions.
The poll also showed New Hampshire adults think they are about the same or financially worse off now than they were a year ago. When asked about their household’s financial condition, only 30 percent of New Hampshire adults say they are better off now than they were a year ago, 35 percent say they are worse off, and 35 percent say their situations are about the same.
More than half of Granite Staters think their households will be in about the same financial condition next year as they are today. Currently, 27 percent think their family will be better off financially a year from now, 16 percent think they will be worse off and 57 percent think their families will be about the same.