LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A new survey of local businesses presents some sobering and disturbing findings about the economic recovery. The Horizon Council surveyed 244 companies of all sizes in Lee County, and found that many believe the recovery has stalled.
"It was a very slow and dismal summer," said Terry Sobo of Nor-Tech Boat Company. Sobo adds, the company did get some very good orders at the recent Ft. Lauderdale boat show. "Those orders really encouraged us. They probably result from pent-up demand after 3 slow years. But we are feeling a bit more encouraged now than before. There is a bit of light now," said Sobo.
The survey finds that only 10 percent of companies believe that the recession is over and boom times will come back soon. 43% believe the worst is not over yet. 41% say the recession is continuing, but easing a bit. However, 85 percent of companies say they will be very slow and deliberate about re-hiring laid-off workers. That does not bode well for an area with high unemployment.
"I think the worst has passed. I am getting more calls now than before," said Cindy Lucier of Axis Satellite, which installs TV dishes on homes, hotels and commercial buildings. "We cut our work force from 12 to 5. But in the past month or so, we are getting some encouraging signs that people are thinking of spending money again. However, watch and wait are the catch-words. Nobody is running out and making huge investments of money. Everybody is playing it close and waiting to see further signs of recovery."
Another finding in the survey: Nearly 30 percent of companies say they are making less money now, than a year ago. 31% say they are making the same as fall of 2009.