NOTEBOOK: Executive Confidence Dropping

Research from the equipment finance industry points to lowering economic expectations among top executives.

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Equipment availability and supply chain concerns are top of mind with most snow management professionals as they strategize for Winter 2022-23. So, it's important to note that recent research from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation indicates executive confidence is dropping as we hit the half-way point for 2022.

The Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $900 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 49.6, a decrease from the April index of 56.1.

Here are some key findings from the recent report that may be of interest to show in the snow and ice industry as they pursue financing and equipment purchasing options for next winter.

  • When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 6.9% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 14.8% in April. 62.1% believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 63% the previous month. 31% believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from 22.2% in April.
  • 10.3% of the respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, down from 29.6% in April. 65.5% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, an increase from 55.6% the previous month. 24.1% believe demand will decline, up from 14.8% in April.
  • 13.8% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 22.2% in April. 86.2% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 77.8% last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from the previous month.
  • When asked, 48.3% of executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, up from 40.7% in April. 44.8% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, a decrease from 59.3% last month. 6.9% expect to hire fewer employees, up from none in April.
  • 3.5% of respondents rate U.S. economy as “excellent,” a decrease from 14.8% the previous month. 79.3% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 74.1% in April. 17.2% evaluate it as “poor,” an increase from 11.1% last month.
  • 3.5% of the respondents believe U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 7.4% in April. 27.6% indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 51.9% last month. 69% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 40.7% the previous month.
  • In May 34.5% of respondents indicated they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, up from 29.6% the previous month. 65.5% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, down from 66.7% in April. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, down from 3.7% last month.

Mike Zawacki is editor of Snow Magazine.

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