The first quarter 2021 Michiana Benchmark Business Index, compiled by the certified public accounting and consulting firm of Kruggel Lawton CPAs, surged in the first quarter of the year to the second-highest score in the more than ten years since the survey began. The overall first quarter Index was 66.56 out of a maximum possible score of 100, an increase of over 21% from the prior quarter results. This was only the third time the quarterly Benchmark Index has exceeded 65.
Kruggel Lawton conducts this confidential survey of CFOs in for-profit companies in the South Bend/Elkhart and southwest Michigan region on a quarterly basis. The survey tracks changes in companies’ revenue, profitability, and employment levels compared to the same quarter of the prior year, along with CFOs’ optimism about the business outlook for their companies. Participating CFOs’ input on these four metrics is combined into the overall Benchmark Business Index to provide a barometer of the regional business climate. Noteworthy first quarter results include:
Kruggel Lawton launched this survey in the 4th quarter of 2010, in the wake of the Great Recession. Just over ten years later, the overall Benchmark Index of 66.56 is nearly 11% greater than the 60.22 recorded when the survey started. Of the three quantitative metrics, Revenue and Profitability are both 14% higher than inception of the survey, while Employment is 3.5% lower. CFO Optimism is nearly 22% higher than when the survey began.
“At first glance, the dramatically positive results for the first quarter of 2021 are unsurprising, since the coronavirus pandemic had such an adverse impact on first quarter of 2020,” said Terry Bush, a director at Kruggel Lawton CPAs. “However, with now over ten years of quarterly input from CFOs in our region, this quarter’s record or near-record high results for most of the survey metrics seem to indicate a strong regional economy, and not solely in the wake of the pandemic. The survey finding that employment levels are not recovering as strongly as other metrics would seem to match up with the difficulty many regional employers are having recruiting people for available jobs.”
Overall Results through 1st Quarter 2021
Detailed Results Since Inception of Survey