Chamber Survey: There is optimism among Indiana business leaders

Kevin Brinegar is the president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. (IIB Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (Inside INdiana Business) — A new survey commissioned by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce shows Indiana employers are optimistic about the business climate in the post-COVID environment. The chamber says 74% of respondents, which are chamber members, think the state has a strong business climate and 63% believe the economy will be better a year from now.

Nearly 900 business leaders from across the state, representing a variety of industries part in the survey in late March.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, chamber President Kevin Brinegar explained the value of surveys like this.

“Because we want to know how they’re doing coming out of the pandemic and be able to respond and share that information more frequently and keep it more up to date with policymakers,” said Brinegar.

The survey is one in a series focusing on economic recovery, business outlooks and public policy. It is a part of the chamber’s Accelerating Indiana’s Vision 2025+ initiative, which Brinegar says is the next iteration of the chamber’s Indiana Vision 2025 plan, a long-term economic development road map for Indiana.

“As the title implies, our current Indiana vision 2025 plan goes another five years. But given the immense upheaval of the pandemic, to our economy and nation, we’ve quickly conceded concluded that it’s time to pivot and look at what we can and should be doing immediately,” said Brinegar..

Brinegar says the reduced number of COVID cases and hospitalizations in the state, plus an increase in the number of vaccinated Hoosiers, has resulted in more optimism.

“Certainly, things are improving, and the business community seems to expect that that will continue to improve, and we’ll move back to a new norm,” said Brinegar. “So, I think there’s optimism on that front.”

Brinegar says the survey revealed only 14% are unwilling to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“That’s a big improvement from our voter poll in December when it was approaching 50%. That resistance is coming down, although we still have a long way to go,” said Brinegar.

The business executives seem more confident in Indiana’s economic bounce back than the nation, according to survey results. Seventy-seven percent say the state is heading in the right direction but while 38% feel the U.S. is heading in the right direction.