Business Conditions Survey

July 2023

NABE Survey Panel Sees an Economy of Rising Sales and Improving Profits, with Lower Materials Costs and Stabilizing Wages


The July 2023 NABE Business Conditions Survey report presents the responses of 52 NABE members to a survey conducted June 30-July 12, 2023, on business conditions in their firms or industries, and reflects second-quarter 2023 results and the near-term outlook.

COMMENTS: “Results of the July 2023 NABE Business Conditions Survey reflect an economy of rising sales and profits, as materials costs decline and stabilizing wages prove less challenging,” said NABE President Julia Coronado, founder and president, MacroPolicy Perspectives LLC.

“Additionally, a majority of panelists is more confident about the economy over the next year,” added NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Carlos Herrera, chief economist, Coca-Cola North America, “as they see the probability of a recession diminishing.”



  • Respondents report continued improvement in sales at their firms over the past three months compared to the previous three. The NRI for sales—the percentage of panelists reporting rising sales minus the percentage reporting falling sales—over the past three months rose to 33 from 30 in the April 2023 survey. The forward-looking NRI rose to 38 from 25 in the April survey, indicating growing expectations for sales in the next three months, as the percent of respondents expecting sales to rise increased and those expecting sales to fall decreased.

  • Panelists also report continued improvement in profit margins at their firms in Q2 2023. The NRI for profits is 0, up from the previous reading of -8. This is the first non-negative result after four consecutive surveys reporting negative NRIs. The forward-looking NRI rose to 6 from -6 in the previous survey, also the first non-negative result after four consecutive surveys with negative results.

  • The NRI for prices charged rose to 45 from 34 in the April survey, and the third highest reading in survey history. Almost half of respondents, 49%, reports prices rose in Q2 2023, up from 40% in the April survey. The forward-looking NRI for prices rose to 35 from 31, as the share of panelists expecting prices to rise in the next three months increased, and the share expecting them to fall declined.

  • The NRI for materials costs decreased to 43 from 50 in the April survey and down 33 points from the record high of 76 in the July 2022 survey. The share of panelists reporting falling materials costs in Q2 2023 increased to 13% compared to 7% in the April survey, and the share reporting rising materials costs decreased to 55% from 57%. The forward-looking NRI fell to 20 from 37 in the April survey, as the share of respondents expecting materials costs to fall over the next three months increased to 23% from 7% in the previous survey.

  • For the first time since 2021, a majority of respondents (53%) report that wages at their firms were unchanged in Q2 2023, while 47% of respondents report rising wages—significantly lower than the 63% in the April survey.

  •  Almost three-quarters of panelists (71%) report that the probability of the U.S. entering a recession in the next 12 months is 50% or less.

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