“More panelists report falling sales and lower profit
margins at their firms over the past three months than in the previous survey,”
added NABE Business Conditions Survey Chair Sam Kyei, CBE, chief economist, SAK
Economics LLC. “Materials input costs remain elevated at respondents’ firms,
but for the first time in seven years, price cuts were as common as price increases.
Employment pressures appear to have moderated slightly. Although 47% of
respondents indicate that their firms increased wages and salaries in the past
three months, raises were less prevalent than at any time in the past year and
a half. In addition, 47% of respondents also report skilled labor shortages,
the first time since October of 2018 that the share is smaller than 50%. “Capital
spending increased during the second quarter of 2019 among surveyed firms.
However, capital spending for expansions, such as building new facilities, was
not widespread. Spending on structures at respondents’ firms continues to be
low. “Regarding monetary policy, panelists still generally see the Federal
Reserve’s pause in raising short-term interest rates as being favorable to business
conditions at their firms.”