Business Conditions Survey

April 2024

NABE Panelists Report More Widespread Sales and Profit Margin Increases, But Less Optimism Regarding Growth in Next Three Months


The April 2024 NABE Business Conditions Survey report presents the responses of 49 NABE members to a survey conducted April 1-9, 2024, on business conditions in their firms or industries, and reflects first-quarter 2024 results and the near-term outlook.

COMMENTS: “The April 2024 Business Conditions Survey results suggest a still-strong business environment, with more respondents than in the January survey reporting rising sales and profit margins in the previous three months,” said NABE President Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist, Morgan Stanley. “However, fewer panelists than in January expect their firms’ sales or profit margins to increase in the next three months.”

“The results also suggest that inflation is still with us, but may be easing,” added NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Carlos Herrera, chief economist, Coca-Cola North America. “Almost two-thirds of panelists expect prices charged to remain unchanged in the next three months.”



  • Compared to the results from the January survey, more panelists are reporting rising sales and fewer are reporting falling sales in the past three months. The Net Rising Index (NRI) for sales—the percentage of panelists reporting rising sales minus the percentage reporting falling sales—rose to 49 in April. This is up from 37 in the January survey, and marks the highest reading since the April 2022 survey conducted during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The NRI for profit margins rose to 24 in the April survey—the highest reading since the October 2021 survey—continuing its recent upward trend. Fewer panelists report falling profit margins than in the January 2024 survey.
  • The NRI for prices charged is 33 in the April survey, up from 23 in the January 2024 survey. A larger share of panelists than in January reports that their firms raised prices in the previous three months. The NRI for prices expected over the next three months is 23, little changed from the forward-looking NRI of 25 in the January survey. Almost two-thirds of respondents, 64%, expect prices to remain “unchanged” over the next three months.
  • Survey responses reflect continued tightness in the labor market. Thirty-six percent of respondents report labor shortages, up from 29% in the January survey.
  • Nearly six out of 10—57%—respondents cite a U.S. recession as one of the top three downside risks to their companies’ outlook, while two-thirds (67%) cite avoidance of a U.S. recession among the top three upside risks.


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