Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

VBR & EPR Release 3rd Qtr Business Conditions Survey Results [12.10.14]

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Thursday, December 11th, 2014

12.10.14 – (South Burlington, Vt.) Today Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the 3rd Quarter results of their joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey. The survey, which is conducted quarterly, takes a look back at the economic conditions of the previous quarter and provides a predictive index going forward.

The economic indicator, constructed as a Diffusion Index, is designed to follow economic sentiments of Roundtable members over time, and serve as a tool for analyzing and presenting insight into the Vermont economic outlook as a leading economic indicator.

The 3rd Quarter survey achieved a response rate of 68 percent overall and included a 50 percent or greater response rate from all but one sector within the membership. The survey asked eight questions about the economic outlook, demand, capital spending, and employment. Survey results show that…

  • For the third quarter in a row, most responses to the overall question about the state’s business climate outlook were neutral to mildly optimistic.
  • More than half of respondents (56 percent) shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions; and,
  • For the third quarter in a row, the manufacturing sector had the most optimistic outlook (67 percent) on expected demand and employment.

The first graph below shows the Diffusion Index of overall economic outlook, which measures the level of confidence (optimism or pessimism) respondents have about different aspects of the economy, and can range from 100 (where 100% of respondents answered “strong positive”) to -100 (where 100% of respondents answered “strong negative”). The historical survey data extends back to 2004; the new Diffusion Index methodology began in Q3 2013. The neutral, or “zero” line, is highlighted in red.

For this reporting period, the Diffusion Index of overall economic outlook, shows a declining level of optimism from Q2 2014 to Q3 2014, indicating that Vermont CEOs continue to feel mildly optimistic to neutral about the business climate in the coming three months.

3QtrSurveyDiffusionIndex

The next graph below shows the composite index of the Diffusion Index points for the questions relating to demand, capital spending, and employment in the last three months. The majority of responses were neutral or mildly positive, keeping the line steady between 20 and 30 index points.

3QtrSurveyCompositeIndex

When given the chance to express their opinions on other topics, members of the Roundtable gave voice to concerns and uncertainty regarding the state’s efforts around health care reforms, including health care financing. According to members, such uncertainty has resulted in many businesses being unable to make investments in their growth strategies.
The next survey will be conducted in late January of 2015.

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The Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of chief executive officers of Vermont’s leading private and nonprofit employers, representing geographic diversity and all major sectors of the Vermont economy. The Roundtable is committed to sustaining a sound economy and preserving Vermont’s unique quality of life by studying and making recommendations on statewide public policy issues. www.vtroundtable.org.

Economic & Policy Resources, Inc. (EPR) has been providing private and public sector clients throughout the U.S. and Canada with problem-solving economic research and analysis services for more than 25 years. Our professionals bring a broad spectrum and a deep reservoir of problem-solving knowledge and experience in applied economics to each assignment. We put our capabilities and experience to work for our clients so that they have the insight and understanding necessary to move forward with confidence. EPR has successfully completed assignments throughout the United States and in eastern Canada. www.epreconomics.com

VBR Addresses Current State and Future Trends in Education [8.14.14]

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Thursday, August 14th, 2014

South Burlington, VT – At the invitation of Kevin Dorn, South Burlington City Manager, Roundtable President, Lisa Ventriss, addressed state leaders at the Vermont School and Municipal Leadership Conference on Education Property Tax and Funding Reform  on the “Current State and Future Trends: Public Education in Vermont” today.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Ventriss acknowledged that the Roundtable’s Board of Directors convened last year to discuss ways in which to:

  • “Get Unstuck” from our education rut, where there has been a lot of talk, but little action.
  •  Gain traction on comprehensive, system-wide education reforms, and move beyond words to actions,
  •  Create an “Informed and Engaged Public,” which is essential to any major policy change.
  •  That results in improved educational experiences and outcomes for all our career or college-bound students.

Since then the Roundtable has used data to tell the story and convey the “urgency” with which we believe change must happen.

EdFundSustainability

An Issue of Sustainability: Since the passage of Act 60, school property taxes have increased almost 3X greater than the rate of CPI. Source: Vermont League of Cities and Towns

Download Ms. Ventriss’ presentation, “Current State, Future Trends: Public Education in VT.”

VBR and EPR Release 1st Qtr Survey Results [4.15.14]

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Vermont Business Roundtable and Economic & Policy Resources
1st Quarter 2014 Survey Results Show Positive Outlook

(South Burlington, Vt.)  Today Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the 1st Quarter results of their joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey.  The survey, which is conducted quarterly, is the next generation of the Roundtable’s economic outlook surveys that began in 2004, and provides a more meaningful and predictive index going forward. The new economic indicator, constructed as a Diffusion Index, is designed to follow economic sentiments of Roundtable members over time, and serve as a tool for analyzing and presenting insight into the Vermont economic outlook, as a leading economic indicator. (more…)

Coates Op-Ed: State Pension Woes Become Municipal Woes [2.3.14]

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Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

By David Coates, Roundtable Member and Former Managing Partner, KPMG (Retired)

I wish there was better news to report to Vermonters on the pension front this year, but unfortunately there is not. In fact, the pension problem is now spreading to our cities and towns.

First, an update on the state picture. (more…)

VBR and EPR Release 3rd Qtr Survey Results [12.17.13]

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Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Vermont Business Roundtable and Economic & Policy Resources

3rd Quarter Survey Results Show Mildly Positive Outlook

 

(South Burlington, Vt.)  Today Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the 3rd Quarter results of their new joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey.  The survey, which is conducted quarterly, is the next generation of the Roundtable’s economic outlook surveys that began in 2004, and provides a more meaningful and predictive index going forward. The new economic indicator, constructed as a Diffusion Index, is designed to follow economic sentiments of Roundtable members over time, and serve as a tool for analyzing and presenting insight into the Vermont economic outlook, as a leading economic indicator. (more…)

VBR and EPR Release New Business Conditions Survey [8.14.13]

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Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

(South Burlington, Vt.)  Today Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the inaugural results of their new joint initiative, the VBR-EPR Business Conditions Survey.  The survey, which will be conducted quarterly, is the next generation of the Roundtable’s economic outlook surveys that began in 2004, and will result in a more meaningful and predictive index going forward. The new economic indicator, constructed as a Diffusion Index, is designed to follow economic sentiments of Roundtable members over time, and serve as a tool for analyzing and presenting insight into the Vermont economic outlook; as a leading economic indicator. (more…)

Chair’s Column: Make Vermont the Best Place

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Friday, April 5th, 2013

by Mary Powell, Chair

What a breath of fresh air a touch of spring is – it never seems to come a moment too soon. I feel the same way about the news emerging in the broader economy; there is a sense of fresh air and bounce that is back. While our global economy will always carry with it a new sense of fragility due to so many complex interdependencies, the view from my deck is that the bounce is back.  So it feels good to be working with all of you on building our companies, our community and our Vermont economy to be as strong as possible. Vermont is a smaller image of the bigger picture, we have many important interdependencies that can move us forward positively, or conversely, set up conflict and spiral us in a negative direction. (more…)

President’s Column: Springing Forward

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Friday, April 5th, 2013

by Lisa Ventriss, President

Ah, Spring, welcome to the Green Mountain State! Depending on where you live and the recent snowstorms that have hit the mountains, you may think my greeting to be premature, but mentally I have made the turn. Now that my skis and snowshoes have been stowed away for the year, it’s time to lighten the palette and start looking around at what’s popping up in the proverbial backyard. (more…)

Education Matters: Championing Quality Outcomes

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Friday, April 5th, 2013

by Mary Barrosse Schwartz, Staff Director, VBR Research & Education Foundation

The Vermont Business Roundtable has long been a champion of early childhood programs that create good outcomes for children. Quality is the issue of course, not just funding. Measurement is the best way to understand the impact of programs, and how to improve outcomes from the significant investments the state and federal government is already making. (more…)

VBR Foundation Elects Officers

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Friday, April 5th, 2013

The VBR Research and Education Foundation held its first organizational meeting and elected new officers including: Chair – Tim Donovan, Chancellor of Vermont State Colleges; Secretary – Jeff Francis, Executive Director of Vermont Superintendents Association; and Treasurer – Sr. Janice Ryan, President Emeritus, Trinity College (Vermont). Other directors include: Mary Powell, CEO, Green Mountain Power and Steve Voigt, President and CEO, King Arthur Flour. Also at the meeting the Board voted to approve the Staff Director’s job description and extended an offer to retain Mary Barrosse Schwartz in that position. (more…)