It will be business as usual in 1991, according to a survey of companies and employers in Utah County.

The survey by the Provo/-Orem Chamber of Commerce and the certified public accounting firm of Squire and Co. questioned more than 600 local businesses on their economic outlook for the coming year.When asked if they feel their business will increase, decrease or remain stable in 1991, 90.9 percent answered that they expect their business to remain stable or increase.

"There is a very upbeat attitude continuing from the past three years," said Steve Densley, chamber president. "The feeling in the valley is very positive."

Even though national indicators aren't so optimistic, the employment outlook for Utah Valley looks good for 1991. More than 36 percent of those responding to the survey expect employment levels to increase in their businesses.

Employers are concerned about shortages in qualified personnel.

"The need is critical for employees with skills," said Ron King of Squire and Co. "That is why the chamber is working with local businesses and education."

The survey says the jobs most difficult to fill in the coming year will be in the areas of sales, secretary/-receptionist and nurse/medical.

While more than 26 percent listed "finding qualified employees" as their No. 1 business concern in the coming year, "governmental regulations" was a close second followed by "tax increases."

Health benefit costs were another significant concern of business leaders. Other concerns listed on the survey were transportation and fuel costs, insurance costs, clean air and environment costs.

Some business leaders expressed concerns regarding the effect of the Middle East crisis and its impact on the economy. But, according to King, the feeling is that business in this area "won't be damaged any more than it already has been by the crisis."

Kelly K. Matthews, economist for First Security Corp., during a recent Business Outlook Symposium pointed out that Utah's economy held strong in 1990 while many areas of the country faltered. But in 1991, while remaining among the national leaders, local growth rates will narrow significantly.

Matthews believes the chamber's survey to be consistent with his symposium remarks. "Businesses will grow, but the rate of increase may not duplicate 1990's rates. In essence, businesses will continue to show growth while growth rates narrow."

One thing Matthews is sure about is that Utah County always has been a leader in the economic growth of the state.

"I think that in many instances Utah County has been a pacesetter for the rest of the state. It has been a leading county in the state."

In the area of expansion, plans by local business leaders in 1991 reflect the positive outlook. An even 50 percent said they expect to add new products or services in the coming year.

King said optimism is high generally throughout the county. "In Utah Valley, if you think there's not a recession, then there isn't."

While change is always a part of progress and businesses do relocate from time to time, not one business changing addresses in 1991 said the new address would be out of state.



From a survey of businesses in Utah County:

- 91 percent expect their business to remain stable or increase.

- 36 percent expect employment levels to increase.

- 50 percent expect to add new products or services.

Biggest concerns for 1991:

1. Finding qualified personnel

2. Governmental regulations

3. Tax increases

Jobs most difficult to fill in 1991

1. Sales

2. Secretary/receptionist

3. Nursing/medical

Survey by Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce and Squire and Co.