LEAWOOD, KAN. December 11, 2019 – Seven out of ten business executives in the Kansas City Metro report continued strong performance in 2019, according to results of the 2nd annual First Business Bank Economic Survey.

“It’s obvious by the results of the First Business Bank Economic Survey here in the Kansas City area that the business sector is strong,” said Rob Barker, Kansas City Metro Region President for First Business Bank. “In this second year of our survey here, it’s interesting to look at the trends emerging. We’re glad more of our local business executives are taking the survey and using the results to plan their growth for next year.”

Hiring & Wages
Reflecting the area’s continued low unemployment rate, the First Business Bank Economic Survey report shows strong hiring and wage results as 43% of respondents reported an increase in their number of employees (up four points from 2018) and 65% saw an increase in wages (up from 58% in 2018). Just 8% of companies reported a decrease in their number of employees and 3% a decrease in wages, down from 6% in 2018. 57% predict higher wages still in 2020, and none predict a wage decrease next year. Only 1% project a decrease in number of employees in 2020, a new historic low.

Sales & Profitability
This year saw a dip in reported sales revenue increases as 54% of respondents reported a sales revenue increase, down from 58% in 2018, however most (70%) project higher sales in 2020. Reported profitability increases were higher compared to last year — 54% reported increased profits in 2019, up six points from 2018. Looking ahead to 2020, 65% project an increase in profits and 14% project lower profits for 2020.

Overall Expectations
Business performance was positive compared to 2018, the first year of the First Business Bank Economic Survey in the Kansas City Metro. 30% performed report better-than-expected performance, up from 14% in 2018, and 40% met expectations, bringing the total of respondents who met or exceeded expectations in 2019 to 70%, up from 58% in 2018. On the opposite side of the spectrum, 30% report worse-than-expected performance (lower from 42% in 2018.) Of the 30% of respondents who reported not meeting their expectations, most cited higher operating costs followed closely by a skills shortage. Survey respondents report a strong outlook for 2020, a presidential election year, as 79% expect to do better in 2020 than in 2019, and just 8% expect to do worse. Another 13% expect to do just as well as they did in 2019.

A summary of the local results of the annual First Business Bank Economic Survey include:

  • 65% report increased wages; 57% predict higher wages in 2020
  • 54% saw a sales increase – down from 58% in 2018
  • 54% saw increased profits, compared to 48% in 2018
  • 70% project higher sales revenue in 2020
  • The outlook for 2020 is positive, with 92% of companies expecting improved or unchanged performance.

Every year, local business leaders report performance in the current year and predictions for next year. First Business Bank conducts the survey annually in the Greater Madison Area, Southeast Wisconsin, Northeast Wisconsin, and the Kansas City Metro to help business owners plan for the upcoming year.

Download the full First Business Economic Survey Report at www.firstbusiness.com/survey.

About First Business Bank
First Business Financial Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: FBIZ) is a bank holding company and parent of First Business Bank focused on the unique needs of businesses, business executives, and high net worth individuals. First Business offers business banking, specialty finance, and private wealth management solutions, and, through its niche focus, provides clients with unmatched expertise, accessibility, and responsiveness.