Archive for April, 2011

Business Roundtable Releases First Quarter 2011 CEO Outlook Survey

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Monday, April 18th, 2011

Business Roundtable Releases Latest CEO Economic Outlook Survey

Forecast is Steady for Next Six Months

(South Burlington, Vt.)  The chief executives of Vermont’s leading businesses appear poised to hold steady for the spring and summer months of 2011, when compared against the previous survey period.  The survey was completed between April 1 and April 15 and released today by Vermont Business Roundtable Chair Steve Voigt, CEO, King Arthur Flour and President Lisa Ventriss.

According to Roundtable President, Lisa Ventriss, “Overall, these data show an economy that is taking its breath and assuming a “wait and see” posture.  The most positive growth indicator continues to be our members’ sales forecasts which showed a slight uptick over the previous period (73 percent compared to 71 percent).  And while a plurality of our members are forecasting growth outlooks for capital expenditures and employment levels, (47 percent and 44 percent, respectively), another segment of members is projecting no change in those indicators from the previous quarter (38 percent and 41 percent, respectively),Ventriss said.

Chair Steve Voigt said “We believe that these data also reflect a hesitation among our CEOs that is related to the current debate around health care reform in Vermont and the nation. We polled our members on this topic and found it to be a major source of concern; there are still many cost-related reform questions yet to be answered, and this makes future investment decisions regarding people or plant difficult to make at best. We must remember that while growth indicators have been trending upward nicely since early 2009, these changes are still fragile.”

The Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Survey provides a forward-looking view of the economic assumptions and attitudes of chief executive officers for 120 of the state’s top employers with an aggregate economic impact of $135 billion and employing 15 percent of the state’s workforce.  The members represent Vermont’s agriculture, construction, education, health services, finance, real estate, insurance, hospitality/leisure, manufacturing, information, utilities, professional/business services, wholesale trade, and non-profit industries.  The response rate for this quarter was 58 percent.  Historically, rates have varied from 35 to 73 percent.

1. How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?

Sales INCREASE NO CHANGE DECREASE
Q1 2004 83% 13% 4%
Q2 2004 80% 15% 4%
Q3 2004 71% 25% 4%
Q4 2004 77% 22% 1%
Q1 2005 78% 19% 3%
Q2 2005 75% 23% 2%
Q3 2005 74% 24% 2%
Q4 2005 72% 24% 4%
Q1 2006 78% 20% 2%
Q2 2006 78% 22% 0%
Q3 2006 69% 25% 6%
Q4 2006 73% 23% 4%
Q3 2008 51% 35% 14%
Q4 2008 27% 46% 27%
Q1 2009 33% 30% 37%
Q2 2009 41% 31% 28%
Q3 2009 34% 49% 17%
Q1 2010 63% 19% 18%
Q2 2010 69% 24% 7%
Q3 2010 59% 35% 6%
Q4 2010 71% 23% 6%
Q1 2011 73% 19% 8%
% change from Q4/10 to Q1/11 2% -4% 2%

Totals may not equal 100 due to rounding.

2. How do you expect your company’s capital spending to change in the next six months?

Capital INCREASE NO CHANGE DECREASE
Q1 2004 62% 30% 8%
Q2 2004 43% 41% 15%
Q3 2004 51% 42% 7%
Q4 2004 45% 46% 9%
Q1 2005 55% 37% 8%
Q2 2005 49% 43% 8%
Q3 2005 57% 38% 5%
Q4 2005 50% 35% 15%
Q1 2006 45% 45% 10%
Q2 2006 53% 40% 7%
Q3 2006 40% 50% 10%
Q4 2006 56% 39% 5%
Q3 2008 38% 42% 20%
Q4 2008 17 % 43% 40%
Q1 2009 12% 38% 50%
Q2 2009 17% 51% 32%
Q3 2009 31% 46% 23%
Q1 2010 50% 42% 8%
Q2 2010 51% 38% 11%
Q3 2010 37% 48% 15%
Q4 2010 49% 34% 17%
Q1 2011 47% 38% 15%
% Change from Q4/10 to Q1/11 -2% 4% -2%

Totals may not equal 100 due to rounding.

3. How do you expect your company’s employment to change in the next six months?

Employment INCREASE NO CHANGE DECREASE
Q1 2004 57% 38% 4%
Q2 2004 50% 48% 2%
Q3 2004 59% 37% 4%
Q4 2004 58% 39% 3%
Q1 2005 55% 38% 7%
Q2 2005 49% 42% 9%
Q3 2005 49% 44% 7%
Q4 2005 60% 35% 5%
Q1 2006 54% 39% 7%
Q2 2006 50% 45% 5%
Q3 2006 43% 49% 7%
Q4 2006 53% 41% 5%
Q3 2008 40% 42% 18%
Q4 2008 25% 35% 40%
Q1 2009 23% 37% 40%
Q2 2009 21% 50% 29%
Q3 2009 34% 46% 20%
Q1 2010 40% 52% 8%
Q2 2010 46% 45% 9%
Q3 2010 35% 52% 13%
Q4 2010 51% 38% 11%
Q1 2011 44% 41% 15%
% Change from Q4/10 to Q1/11 -7% 3% 4%

Totals may not equal 100 due to rounding.

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Ventriss Op-Ed: Rethinking Education Governance

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Monday, April 4th, 2011

by Lisa Ventriss, President, Vermont Business Roundtable

In the winter of 2007 the Vermont Business Roundtable, along with the Vermont Superintendents Association, convened a group of business and education leaders around some simple goals: to develop mutual understanding and respect for our respective issues and priorities; to inform each other’s thinking with factual information and industry insight; and, to find common ground that could lay the foundation for policy recommendations. We recruited organizations that could bring balance and non-partisan independence to our discussions, and charged ourselves to provide “bold and long-term leadership” on education reform efforts. Thus was born the Business-Education Alliance. (more…)

Research on High Effects of High Quality Early Childhood Ed

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Monday, April 4th, 2011

by Mary Barrosse Schwartz, Executive Director, Pre-K VT

Research on the Effects of High Quality Early Education on At-Risk Children and from Middle Income Backgrounds

Three U.S. longitudinal studies show long and short-term positive effect for children. These programs were of varying intensity and served mainly at-risk children. These studies include the Abecedarian study in North Carolina, Perry High Scope in Michigan, and the Chicago Child-Parent Center in Illinois. All show consistent benefits that persist for many years following the program. (more…)