ELKHART — The attitudes of chief financial officers of area companies improved greatly at the end of 2012, contributing to a significant rise in the Michiana Benchmark Business Index for the fourth quarter.
The index, tracked by Kruggel, Lawton and Co., rose 6 percent over the third quarter results, the company announced Tuesday.
The survey looked at 46 area companies, tracking the outlook of chief financial officers, revenue, profitability and employment. Employment continued to slide, but all other areas saw increases.
“After the third quarter’s decline, we’re pleased to see the benchmark index bounce back in the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton CPAs, in the announcement with today’s survey results.
“We’re very encouraged at the highest level of CFO outlook since we started this survey, which we think reflects CFOs’ optimism for their companies heading into 2013. We remain hopeful this and increasing levels of revenue and profitability will lead to higher levels of employment here in Michiana,” Bush said.
Employment was down 1.4 percent over the third quarter, while revenue was up 8.4 percent and profitability was up 4.7 percent. The CFO outlook was up the most, by 11 percent.
At the end of 2012, the benchmark was about where it had been at the end of 2010, before a decline in the first few quarters of 2011. Optimism was higher from late 2011 through the first half of 2012, before making a major slide of almost 10 percent in the third quarter last year.