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Index: Alabama business leaders’ confidence in economy declines

Business leaders have a negative outlook on Alabama’s economy for the first time in eight years, according to a quarterly polling of more than 200 executives.

The Alabama Business Confidence Index was 47.3, down more than seven points from the last quarter and continuing the downward trend from 67 a year ago, the University of Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research said on Wednesday.

An index over 50 indicates a positive forecast compared to the previous quarter, and the higher the number, the more confident the forecast.

“This is likely due to the lasting effects of the pandemic on the local workforce, coupled with the prolonged difficulties with the global supply chain and international conflict that introduce a higher level of uncertainty to the economic environment,” said Susannah Robichaux, socioeconomic analyst for the center.

The index has dropped every quarter since it peaked at 67 in the third quarter survey taken in June 2021.

This was the first negative index since 2013, the center said.

The center also measures the confidence levels in the state’s five largest metro areas. Huntsville’s was highest at 51.1. Tuscaloosa’s was lowest at 44.8.

Economists at the Center for Business and Economic Research earlier this year predicted 3% growth for Alabama’s economy this year. They’ve since revised that estimate to 2.2%.

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