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Business Observer Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 6 years ago

Bullish on 2016

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Rising interest rates, economic turmoil abroad and an unpredictable election year in 2016 don't seem to faze business owners and executives in Lee County.

Rising interest rates, economic turmoil abroad and an unpredictable election year in 2016 don't seem to faze business owners and executives in Lee County.

For example, 80% expect the economy to improve over the next year, according to a recent business climate survey of executives from Florida Gulf Coast University. The Fort Myers college conducted the survey for the Horizon Council, an economic development group in Lee County.

That positive outlook is even sunnier than it was at the same time last year, when 76% of executives in Lee County expected the economy to improve in 2015. And the business climate index rose to 71 from 69 in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Lee County executives are confident enough in their forecast that 66% plan to boost investment in their businesses next year and 55% plan to hire more people. At this time last year, 61% planned to investment more money and 59% planned to hire more people.

There are worries, of course. In the comment section of the survey, executives indicated they are most concerned about traffic, schools and wages. In addition, some complained about slow government permitting and relatively high local taxes.

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