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3nd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2014

Here is your exclusive copy of Semper International’s economic insight survey.
This special report will give you: Fourteen critical insights on economic trends impacting hundreds of businesses just like yours - plus an Executive Summary section that will tell you how this data will impact staffing in the next several months based on our experience in the trenches for the past two decades.
The good news: In nearly every category we measured this quarter we saw evidence everywhere of a true business surge – including the highest percentage of companies reporting profit in years! Other signs that we are at a new economic inflection point include:

  • 81% of companies that reported a profitable third quarter - a significant jump over last quarter. 
  • Company revenue saw a near double-digit growth in the second quarter to 8%.
  • Over 2/3 of responding companies expect sales to grow in the upcoming quarter. 
  • At the same time, the companies expecting a decrease in sales have fallen to the lowest level in the ten years we have been conducting our survey - to just 5%!

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view and download the results of the Second Quarter Industry Insight Survey.

 

2nd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2014

We scoured the data looking to shed light on whether we are looking at a turning of the economic tide. Reading all the responses from over 300 business owners, it looks like the industry at large expects to see several steady quarters of growth interrupted with mini slowdowns in demand, as buyers continue to feel a bit of economic PTSD. Hopefully, these fits and stalls will smooth out, and we will eventually find ourselves in a period of sustained demand.

Our brand new, in-depth report breaks down the data into 3 Key Themes:

  • Dollars and Cents
  • Competitive Threats and Company Responses
  • Staffing Trends
See the latest trends in what's really important: the bottom line.

Click the link below to view or download the Second Quarter Survey Results.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view and download the results of the Second Quarter Industry Insight Survey.

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2014

Thank you for adding your voice to hundreds of business owners and stake holders nationwide. We rely on your reports of your experiences to make the survey possible. This information is used by thousands of your colleagues to make business decisions in the upcoming quarter.

Click the link below to view and download the results of the First Quarter Industry Insight Survey.

Last quarter we had government ineptitude to contend with. More recently we’ve seen some glimmer of hope. Despite a "soft spot" at the end of last year, our 1st quarter survey revealed increasing evidence of an economic recovery:

*32% of companies are hiring. In fact, we haven’t seen hiring at this level since the survey first quarter 2011. *31% of respondents made capital investments last quarter. *Further, the economic bleeding seems to have stopped, with companies that reported an unprofitable quarter remaining the same rather than increasing.

Let’s get right to where the rubber meets the road: the results. Click the link below to view or download the First Quarter Survey Results.

http://www.cvent.com/d/w4qpv2/3B

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


4th Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2013

First and foremost we are not political. We do, however, strongly believe in economic principles.

The last quarter has been an amazing one of governmental ineptitude. Tom Shultz, CEO of Starbucks, mentioned in an interview 10/23/13 on the CBS morning show that sometimes a company and its people need to stand up and take an action. I agree with him. On the same show, Warren Buffett said he could never imagine 535 people bringing 310 million people so close to financial ruin.

So, let’s review: in June the Fed mistakenly signals a tapering, which causes Wall Street and Main Street to overreact. This overreaction is felt all over the economy, in the labor market with five monthly declines in the hiring numbers, the interest rates on everything from 30 year mortgages to car loans to rise and the over all economy to slow. At the same time, the other Sequester shoe drops further slowing the economy and the military’s ability to function. The coup de grace comes with the Government shut down and debt ceiling confrontation. I mean, really people, if you ever needed a lesson in how government can royally screw things up! Economics is economics, supply and demand, pricing, costs, etc. If we are to ever start to get through these tough times, we need some stability and incentives to invest and hire!! Let's get the recovery started! Where is the focus on the economy the whole government was saying they would have during elections? Let’s see 4% growth or better!!

In our view here we see both sides, companies trying to survive and desperate jobseekers as well. When people say it is difficult they mean no food, shelter or car. The only solution in our current economic model is a strong economy. Anything that impedes that needs to be fixed.

Let us get on with the survey results. We Thank You for your participation.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

3rd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2013

From where we are sitting, QE 3 unlimited seems to being having a remarkable impact, both on housing and on business in general. In spite of the impact of the imprudent (economically speaking) short-term Federal sequester.

Our respondents in many segments of the market are reporting increased sales and expectations. We have seen this before with expectations and results so the key here is the Fed's unlimited QE. Every time they had a QE it was too limited and the economy stalled. This time, so far so good. We hope the engine really gets started this time.

Thank you for all your support and well wishes after the marathon bombing. It is deeply appreciated. We are all in this together regardless of differences.

The first quarter final GDP numbers showed 1.8 % growth, reflecting our survey. This last quarter we will be up, even with the June hiccup many mentioned.

The great news on Obamacare (from a business perspective) is that the crazy implementation process was stopped and delayed for a year. Clearly, the bugs are serious and the process companies use to pay for insurance was just unworkable.

Let's get on to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

2nd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2013

What a year so far.

As many of you know, our offices are located in Copley Square immediately adjacent to the first bomb of the Boston Marathon. At the time I write this, the offices are a crime scene and we are not allowed access. The outpouring of concern from you has been heartening. For current information our Facebook page is best.

Yes, these are very tough times. We are doing everything we can to help our people and local community recover. One way you can help is to give even a small donation to this fund http://onefundboston.org. We have. The fund was set up by the Mayor of Boston and the Governor of Massachusetts.

A few words about our results and the current economic environment.

Last survey we had the election results and fiscal cliff. This survey we have sequester, payroll tax increases, commodity crash and terrorist attacks.

The recent economic news has been, for the most part, negative (not unexpectedly considering the headlines). The disconnect between Main street and Wall street has never been more apparent.

We expect the GDP numbers due out to reflect a sharp contraction. Our survey respondents, when asked about quarter one profitability, indicated the largest quarter to quarter contraction in the history of the survey. We are also very concerned about the current high level of unemployment taxes levied on businesses and the negative impact it is having on hiring. Hiring is the keystone of any recovery. If people do not have funds to spend, everyone’s business suffers.

I think every business person has similar concerns right now: How long will things be slow or contracted? How can we get regulations reduced? How do we reduce the extra expenses coming at us from every angle? On top of all these issues, is the looming Obamacare implementation concern. Based on the survey results concerning Obamacare it appears that confusion reigns supreme.

Let’s get to the survey and see what else we can find out.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2013

A New Year!

We have election results. The fiscal cliff is kinda resolved and the debt ceiling put off. We have a new war in Mali, immigration reform and Obamacare! To add to the bad news, the fourth quarter GDP numbers are in and we had the first decline since 2009. Busy times but not in the way I would have liked it.

The consumer confidence numbers out yesterday reflect the impact of the fiscal cliff scare. Everyone's sales seemed to be off in the month leading up to the year end as reflected in the fourth quarter GDP. The result of our survey showed some positives, we feel this first quarter will be a strong one overall.

The stock market rocket is clearly a plus, thank you QE 3. Or is it 4? One way or the other, every time we get that stimulus the survey shows very positive sales and profit results. With this QE open-ended until unemployment drops to 6.5%, we may finally put this seven-year stretch behind us.

We appreciate your support over the last years for the survey and hope it is a help.

Let’s get to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

4th Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

Our Thoughts to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The busy season is here. Many had a tough third quarter as the overall economy slowed in June and July through about mid-August. The afterburners kicked on about the time the Fed eased in September. We had a mini-slowdown the two weeks after Columbus Day weekend but things seem back on track currently.

The election as I write this is one week away. Status quo or change is anyone's guess. Maybe the people at Time magazine have an idea, as last election I received my copy in the mail announcing Obama won the morning after the election closed. One way or the other interesting times ahead.

Frankly, I could do less with interesting and more just plain steady and growing. We added a special question to this survey regarding the personal cost in managing through these economic times. Some interesting results to share.

We appreciate your support over the last years for the survey and hope it is a help.

Let’s get to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

3rd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

The results are in. The effects of the economic slowdown we see in Europe and Asia seem to be putting people on edge. Pessimism is again increasing.

The majority of respondents showed a profitable quarter, but a drop in sales over the last two weeks. We may be able to attribute the drop to the normal summer dip in sales rather than a macro level slowdown. However, all indicators suggest many firms are going into freeze mode.

The remainder of this quarter will be telling. Respondents aren’t expecting the sales boost we usually see in the third quarter. We hope the profits reported in the second quarter are indicative of a turnaround and the lag in sales the last two weeks is not prescient of a double dip recession (Or, as many say, continued downturn)

We appreciate your support over the last years for survey and hope it is a help.

Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com


Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

2nd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

First off, I would like to thank you for your support of our survey. Growing up in the industry, we always wanted a trusted source of information to match industry conditions with our own experience. It is helpful to know if the current business climate is an internal issue or external.

We hope the information in our survey is helpful.

With the first quarter closed we see a slight down tick in Industry profitability. Not surprising, as in February and the first weeks of March, many indicated a significant mini-slowdown. The positive is the strong increase in sales over the last few weeks uniformly reported. It would seem the sales hiccup, though longer than others, appears to be past.

Another strong positive is the expectation of sales for the next three months. Expectations increased significantly from last quarter. Respondents are expecting to see the increase in sales they need. Naturally the impact of gas prices and the by-nownormal international worries are reflected. Many reported concern for the general economic climate as the top competitive threat.

Please take a moment and review the survey directly and thank you again for your support.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2012

The results are here! It's been a rocky road to recovery, but the upcoming election and uptick in fourth quarter profits seem to have brought some optimism to the marketplace. We could definitely use a big uplift year!

Respondents appear more likely to hire and had more optimism about continued growth than they have since last summer. Concerns over the general economic climate remain, but they are not as intense as in previous quarters.

The next few months will be telling, we are beginning to see some life from the west coast with a significant increase in activity. It has been awhile since all areas of the country have been firing on all cylinders but the general sentiment indicates this will be the year for it.

Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

4th Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2011

The numbers are in! The last quarter showed a continued slow down overall, although we are seeing some improvement in sales at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter. Margin pressure is still severe across all profit centers, inhibiting respondents ability to raise pricing.

Respondents appeared more hesitant about this coming quarter then they had in the last survey. The macro economy has seen a lot of bounces in the road to recovery but the general consensus among economists is that we will avoid a second recession (barring any sudden shocks). With the political season upon us, it will be increasingly difficult for the Fed to respond. The political climate coupled with the government’s gridlock will make the road ahead a challenge.

Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

3rd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2011

Traditionally the industry sees a slow down in the early part of the summer. We had hoped that by delaying the release of this survey we would see more optimism looking forward to the end of the third quarter. Unfortunately there is more pessimism in the marketplace than was expected. While outlooks remain negative, the typical slow down appears to be comparable to the pre-recession lag in sales.

With the debt debate behind us we are hoping to see the sales increase we all look forward to in the fall.

Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

2nd Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2011

Seems the minor slow down we had in at the end of last year carried over into the first quarter but then improved. At this point we suspect everyone is ready for some solid, continuous growth. It has been since August 2007 that the Fed has kept its easing policy. We are now in the middle of our second Quantitative Easing (QE2) episode. From the survey results, we have started to see some positive impacts but peoples' trust in the government's ability to turn the economy around has definitely been impacted. It would appear at best they can mitigate the extremes of the downturn.

This survey reflects a reaction to the slow spot we all felt, mixed with some positive brought on by the business levels at the end of the first quarter. We suspect that, at least for the short-term, once the economy starts expanding more time and resources can be devoted towards changing business models to reflect the changing environment. Lets get right to the survey.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

1st Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2011

Looks like the last quarter of 2010 ended great but there was a slight slow down in the last month. The soft spot anomaly is continuing- pockets of business surrounded by definite slow spots.

This current survey is the first in many years showing significant changes in hiring and a marked increase of hiring via staffing companies. (Staffing is a traditional indicator that the labor market is turning positive.)

The special question this survey regarding costs centers will be used to help us modify future surveys. We thank you for your help.

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

Fourth Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2010

Well, they warned us things would be a little bumpy! This election season has certainly put a negative spin on just about everything. In spit of this, the survey is to help us cut through the noise and look at some hard data.

It seems clear that we have seen several soft spots the last few months. The soft spots, whilst annoying, are definitely surrounded by some busy spells. The pundits and the Fed warned us that things would be improving, but it would be up and down.

Overall, this fall has been decidedly better then a year ago and certainly better then the spring. Lets get to the Survey results!

Please feel free to drop us an email with you thoughts, concerns and questions

Dave Regan
CEO Semper
always@semperllc.com

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

Third Quarter Industry Insight Survey 2010

I would say we have had the best quarter in at least 3 years! With this current quarter already bearing down on us it is hard to take a moment and reflect on the positives. However, it is nice to get a decent night’s sleep again. The concerns have shifted from how to survive to how to grow.

The economic and political leaders of the country have repeatedly warned us that this recovery will he frequent requests we receive to help out our clients in other areas besides production, customer service and management. Often large clients would compare our performance versus the generalists they had been using. They would request our help in the areas the generalists had been working in. We intend to limit this to high skilled positions to minimize the impact to our core strength while also allowing us to evolve and grow areas in our core industry IE: database, front end and other data management type positions, as the print media itself is morphing.

The next survey will be very interesting as the ups and downs of a changing economy always is. Keep a sharp eye on the credit worthiness of your clients and continue to scrutinize the economic road ahead. Traditionally the late summer and fall are very busy and I hope the soft landing will not impact that too much.

We appreciate your support. Thank you for your participation in our survey and we look forward to your participation next quarter.

Click here to view the Survey, PDF Format

Q2 Survey Analysis - April 2006

This survey indicates that 64% of respondents forecast an increase in sales for the second quarter of 2006. This high level of confidence matches the previous survey's expectations. We noticed that the stress level within the expectations results decreased. he decrease was shown by only 10 % of respondents indicating a decrease in sales, compared to the 12% who predicted a decrease in the last survey. We thought things could not get much better on the profit front: a new record 87% of our respondents reported a profitable first quarter, up from last survey's 86%. We like this kind of error!.

As we conducted this survey, our country was again experiencing some of the highest gas prices in recent memory. With the current geopolitical uncertainty (i.e., Iran, Russia, Venezuela and Nigeria impacting gas prices again), we are continually looking for any impact on the economy. At this point, we are beginning to see some impact based on the number of firms indicating a slow down in sales over the previous two weeks. The number of respondents indicating an increase dropped 16% while those indicating the same level of sales rose by 22%. As time goes on we hope the number of respondents indicating a decrease in sales doesn't increase from the current 2%.

We again ask d respondents about the biggest concerns facing their companies. SURPRISE! A new answer, inflation concerns, in the form of increasing supply costs, came in as number one. Inflation rose from 23% of respondents concerned to 25%. Hiring issues increased from 11% to 19% (large jump) and labor costs from 10% to 12%. Taken in total, the increasing costs of doing business is a concern to 56% of all respondents. Let's hope the Fed's hikes will start tempering this pressure. The single biggest threat for the previous few surveys, technology, decreased from 25% to 18% of all respondents. It is interesting how fast this shift to cost pressures has occurred and is clearly a rising source of alarm.

It appears that the Fed is close to halting its interest rate increases. If they are able to dampen the increasing inflation pressure without damaging the economy, our new Fed chief would be elevated in the market's eyes.

This quarter, we saw a surprising drop from 82% of the respondents to 74% feeling comfortable with their interna forecast . This could be an indicator that people are concerned with the impact of the rate increases vs the inflation tiger. If the Fed is able to navigate this situation to a positive ie: low inflation vs reasonable growth, we all will be applauding.

As a last note, the decrease in companies being able to increase productivity vs the increase in hiring needs is a sign we have long been looking for. Those who heeded our previous cautions on treating workers with respect and working with them to find solutions will be well served.

We hope this survey was of assistance, thank you for your participation, and look forward to your responses to our next survey. A happy and rewarding Quarter to all!

Click here to view the Survey, PDF F rmat

Q1 Survey Analysis - January 2006 Responses have increased substantially from our last survey, which provides a much better snapshot for all of us. We are pleased with the sample size and the results from them. I briefly reviewed the results, and then chewed on them a bit before returning and closely examining them. Our question concerning hiring was answered pessimistically, with more companies maintaining the status quo and considering less hiring compared to our last survey. With business so robust and projections looking so encouraging, it's unclear why this question evoked the response it did, unless you note that many companies are increasing productivity without hiring.

Well, to start the analysis:

This survey indicates that 64% of respondents forecast an increase in sales for the first quarter of 2006. This is similar to last survey's response of 61%; but we notice in the current survey that the remaining 36% shifted: a 4-percentage point rise of those expecting a decrease in sales. This can be a sign of increased stress overall, and a foreshadowing of problems down the road. However, it seems that things couldn't get much better: a record 8 % of our respondents reported a profitable fourth quarter, up from last survey's 82%.

Just before we conducted the previous survey, our country had experienced the twin hurricane shocks and the highest gas prices in recent memory. With the current geopolitical uncertainty (i.e., Iran, Iraq, Venezuela and Nigeria impacting gas prices again), we are continually looking to notice any impact upon the economy. At this point, it appears our country is getting accustomed to the frequent economic shocks. However, when we asked respondents about the biggest concerns facing their companies, the price of supplies continues to be a significant issue, rising from 21% of respondents concerned to 23%. The single biggest threat continues to be technology, increasing from last surveyís 23% to 25% of all res ondents. The technology threat is one that needs further discussion, but based on the responses it appears people are afraid of continued loss of clients' business to other, non-print formats.

On a positive note, it appears that the Fed is close to halting its interest rate increases (keeping in mind that, with Alan gone, they may feel compelled to prove themselves and respond to the market's inflation).

Again this quarter, a lofty 82% of the respondents are still comfortable with their internal forecasts. With consumer confidence recently rebounding in other surveys, the correlation is clear. However, we are again concerned with the recent run up in fuel prices close to the September 20 year highs - affecting the short-term economy.

What factors appear to make a company profitable or unprofitable? According to our survey, it appears a major difference is the ability of the profitable ones to adopt and dep oy productivity improvements. In this same area, it appears that unprofitable companies have a greater fear of new technologies impacting their business. In this survey, there appears to be some correlation between those companies that are profitable and their openness to adopt new ideas.

We hope this survey was of assistance, thank you for your participation, and look forward to your responses to our next survey.

A happy and rewarding New Year to all!

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