Business Outlook for 2014: Mixed Reviews (Part I)

According to many analysts, the outlook for businesses and the economy in 2014 is mostly positive, with some factors that could be cause for concern. Overall, the economy is moving in the right direction. Entering our fifth year of economic recovery, growth should continue.

According to Inc. Magazine’s survey of the CEOs of the 5000 fastest growing businesses in America, 82% said their prospects for 2014 were either “excellent” or “good”. Of course, these businesses are all growing, so they have good reason to believe they can continue that trend. The National Federation of Independent Business, on the other hand, in its broader survey of overall businesses, is not quite as optimistic about the prospects for the coming year.

There is quite a bit of good news as we enter 2014. Some key industries are in full recovery, which should give the economy as a whole a big boost.

Housing: One very big bright spot for the economy is the recovery in housing. In most U.S. markets, housing starts are up and sales of existing homes have increased as well. The emergence of a stronger housing market is critical because it impacts so many ancillary industries, such as home builders, building supply companies, electricians, plumbers, mortgage & title companies, and many more. The housing recovery alone could be responsible for the addition of several hundred thousand jobs in the New Year.

Energy: North America is experiencing a renaissance in energy the likes of which we have not seen for many decades. In 2013, the U.S. became a net exporter of oil for the first time since 1995. This milestone occurred faster than originally expected, largely due to the success of the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This, combined with large oil finds in North Dakota, Texas, and several other states has fueled a very strong recovery in the energy sector that is expected to continue for many years to come.

The technology, health care, and e-commerce industries are also poised for strong growth in the coming year. In addition, businesses also have easier access to credit than in past years, helping remove one of the biggest hurdles many small companies have had when they were looking to expand.


Stay tuned for Part II where we will cover Business Tax Law Changes, Affordable Care Act Compliance, and proper preparation throughout the year.

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