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Promising Signs Emerge Despite Business Owners' Continuing Concern Over Chicago Area Economy

CHICAGO, April 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The inaugural Cole Taylor Business Owners Confidence Index survey shows Chicago area business leaders making plans for second quarter growth despite apprehension about the local economy.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20061010/CGTU045LOGO)   

Respondents, which were surveyed between February 21 and March 12, 2012, rated the U.S. and Chicago economies as being in fair to poor condition, with some optimism for short-term improvement in the local economy.  The middle-market business decision makers reported expectations for increased hiring during the second quarter of 2012.  In addition, nearly 75% of the companies surveyed reported plans to invest in technology and equipment in the next six months, though other areas of potential capital expenditures appear weak.

Of the 300 businesses surveyed, nearly 80% viewed Illinois economic policy as poor, with 30% of the companies reporting that in the last twelve months they have considered moving their business to another state.  The largest group to have considered relocating was manufacturing companies.

When asked about the biggest issue facing their companies today, 23% reported that low demand and government and regulatory burdens were the greatest concern.  Other major issues facing these companies include finding and retaining skilled workers and the rising cost of raw materials.

Highlights
  • 47% saw dollar sales volume rise in the first quarter of 2012
  • 42% expect to increase hiring, only 6% looking to reduce staffing
  • 70% anticipate that their cost of goods will rise over the next three months
  • 26% believe that general business conditions will improve in the near term; 69% think that business conditions will be about the same
  • 85% of respondents rate the current state of the Chicago economy as fair to poor

In commenting on the survey results, Mark A. Hoppe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cole Taylor Bank, said, "We're encouraged by the optimistic responses for sales growth and hiring, both indicators of a strengthening local economy. Chicago area business owners are understandably cautious, given the challenging period from which we are now just beginning to emerge, but Cole Taylor continues to be poised and ready to help clients grow."

Lance Pressl, Ph. D., President of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said, "I'm pleased to see Cole Taylor Bank initiate this survey of local business owners' attitudes regarding the Chicago area business climate. Understanding their expectations and perceptions is important information for the area's civic and business decision makers. We've been through a difficult period, but it's encouraging to see signs of growth from the middle-market companies that are so important to local economic growth."

More results from the Cole Taylor Business Owners Confidence Index can be found at http://insight.coletaylor.com/surveyS2012

About the Cole Taylor Business Owners Confidence IndexThe Cole Taylor Business Owners Confidence Index is designed to gather feedback from Chicago area business leaders regarding their attitudes and perceptions of the economy, both nationally and within the local market.  The semi-annual survey was conducted online by Chamberlain Research Consultants from February 21 through March 12, 2012 and included 300 decision-makers from mid-sized businesses in the Chicago area.  Findings are significant to a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 5%.

About Cole Taylor Bank Cole Taylor Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Taylor Capital Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:  TAYC), and specializes in serving the needs of closely held businesses and the people who own and manage them. Through its divisions Cole Taylor Business Capital and Cole Taylor Mortgage, the bank also provides asset based lending and residential mortgage loan products through a growing network of offices throughout the United States.

SOURCE Cole Taylor Bank

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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