Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce
× Greater Louisville Inc. The Metro Chamber of Commerce

Media Center

May 7, 2024 1:08pm




From celebrating the 20th anniversary of PNC Grow Up Great® to marking our 10th year as presenting sponsor of the PNC Tour de Lou to joining in the festivities of Derby 150 with colleagues and friends, this spring has been filled with milestones and celebrations for the local PNC team. And it’s far from over, with the PGA Championship just around the corner.

This season of significant economic impact for our region certainly provides much reason for optimism. And findings from the 2024 PNC Spring Economic Outlook survey bring added validity to this sentiment among local small and mid-sized business owners as economic conditions improve broadly. According to the survey, more than half (52%) of Louisville business owners are highly optimistic about the national economy.

Below are a few takeaways from this semi-annual survey* that I found to be particularly compelling against the backdrop of our region’s business opportunities and challenges.

Hiring intentions and HR improvements on the rise

According to the survey, nearly one in five (19%) small and mid-sized business owners in Louisville intend to hire full-time employees in the first half of 2024. However, as GLI stakeholders are well aware, ongoing labor pressures represent a significant challenge for our region’s economy. This reality was captured in the survey respondents’ feedback, which ranked a lack of candidates overall as the top workforce issue facing Louisville (33% vs. 28% U.S.).

This workforce challenge gives credence to another survey data point that puts Louisville ahead of the national average: nearly half (48%) of Louisville businesses surveyed are making plans to innovate or improve their human resources practices in the coming year, compared to 43% nationally. These improvements may range from changes to workplace flexibility and hiring practices to employee benefits. Meanwhile, 34% of Louisville business owners surveyed expect to increase employee compensation, compared to 31% of business owners nationally.

Fraud alert

Half (50%) of Louisville business owners surveyed reported being extremely or moderately concerned about the risk of fraud (compared to 59% nationally), while 38% of local respondents expressed this same level of concern about cyber security breaches (compared to 58% nationally).

We could collectively choose to take comfort in the fact that local business owners are less concerned about fraud and cyber security risk than the national standard – or we could view this gap in perception as a necessary indicator that our region’s businesses should elevate their vigilance and proactive measures to prevent fraud and cyber security attacks, particularly as threats continue to mount.

Inflation pressures ease, optimism prevails

Based on the survey results, inflation pressures appear to be easing, with fewer than half (46%) of Louisville businesses expecting to increase prices in the next few months, comparable to the national level (47%).

And Louisville business owners aren’t just optimistic about the economy. They’re also optimistic about the success of their own operations. Nearly seven in 10 (68%) report being highly optimistic about the prospects for their respective businesses. And more than half (52%) expect an increase in their company’s profits in the next few months.

As PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher shared during his recent visit to Louisville, the change in optimism we have seen in recent months is reflective of how business leaders see their own businesses continuing to do well in a strong and improving economy, whereas previously they had been telling us they are doing well despite concerns about the overall economy. And with expectations that near-term economic growth will continue, all of us at PNC are committed to helping deliver on that growth here in Louisville.

To view the full survey, visit: https://pnc.mediaroom.com/pnc-economic-outlook-survey-spring-2024#assets_35158_1263-135

METHODOLOGY: Artemis Strategy Group conducted the telephone
survey from 1/2/2024 to 2/26/2024, among small and mid-sized business owners/leaders with self-reported revenue of $100,000 to $250 million. 150 interviews were conducted in Louisville, KY.
Sampling error for the nationwide results is +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level. DISCLAIMER: This report was prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations. Any reliance upon this information is solely and exclusively at your own risk. NOTE: The sum of percentages may not add to the total due to rounding.