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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


Horizon Council and FGCU Release First Quarter 2014 Lee County Executive Business Climate Survey Report

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The results from the First Quarter 2014 Horizon Council FGCU Lee County Executive Business Climate Survey have been released. This survey is completed each quarter and provides insight into the Lee County economy and expected economic trends. The online survey was sent to 587 business executives in Lee County and the results are based on responses from 94 executives resulting in a 16 percent response rate.

This survey provides a key economic indicator for Lee County, the Executive Business Climate Index. This index value is computed each quarter and released to the public as a way to provide an established economic indicator on the state of the local economy. The index is computed using the two questions concerning the current and future economic conditions and a third question concerning the expected industry economic conditions. The index is an average of the responses with substantially better equal to 100, moderately better equal to 75, same equal to 50, moderately worse equal to 25 and substantially worse equal to zero. The index value can range from 0 to 100.

The key findings of the Executive Climate Survey for the first quarter of 2014 are:
     The Lee County Business Climate Index was 74 for the first quarter survey (January 2014) up from 71 for the fourth quarter survey (October 2013);
     83 percent of executives stated that the current economic conditions have improved over last year;
     85 percent of the executives expect the economy to improve over the next year;
     76 percent of the executives stated that the current economic conditions for their industry have improved over last year but 18 percent stated that economic conditions remained approximately the same;
     80 percent of executives expect economic conditions for their industry to improve over the next year;
     64 percent of companies expect to increase investment next year and only two percent expect to reduce their investment levels;
     58 percent of executives had increased employment over the last year, while one percent had reduced employment;
     56 percent of executives expect to increase employment at their companies during the next year and only two percent of executives expect to reduce employment;
     Of the companies that plan to increase employment, 14 percent expect to increase their workforce size by one to nine percent, 34 percent expect to increase by 10 to 19 percent, and 32 percent expect to increase by 20 to 29 percent;
     56 percent of executives indicated that they were having trouble finding qualified employees;
     52 percent of executives indicated that the preferred recruiting method is networking and 18 percent indicated internet job websites.
     Positions and occupations expected to be hired next year included Sales and Account Representatives, Cashiers, Customer Service, Engineers, Fabricators, General Maintenance Staff, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants, Housekeepers, IT/Application Technicians, Machinists, Managers, Real Estate Agents, Reporters, Security Officers, Trades, and Truck Drivers;
     The employee characteristics desired by executives included a good aptitude, attitude, and attendance, attention to detail, clean, smart, motivated, and educated, critical thinking, problem solving, team player, strong communication skills, self-starter, and customer focused;
     The employee skills that were identified included AutoCAD, basic office skills, business and accounting skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills, sales, construction skills, critical thinking, engineering, soft skills, and welding; and
     The positions that companies are having trouble filling include assistant engineers, banking and commercial lending managers, cashiers and counter sales, design engineers, drivers, computer network technicians, fabricators, housekeepers and service staff, insurance sales and support, machinists, managers, experienced nurse practitioners, sales, construction trades, water resource engineers, and web development and application technicians.

About Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is dedicated to providing a student-centered learning environment that offers the highest quality educational opportunities for the development of the knowledge, insights, competencies, and skills necessary for success in life and work. Call us at 1-800-590-3428 or visit our website at

About Fort Myers Regional Partnership

The Fort Myers Regional Partnership works to attract new and diversified businesses resulting in high-wage, high-skilled jobs; retains and encourages the expansion of existing businesses and improves the overall business environment.

The Partnership continues to promote and build the region through ongoing efforts from its proactive team of domestic and international recruiters, research staff and community liaisons, as well as through its partnerships with the Horizon Foundation, the Horizon Council and the Lee County Industrial Development Authority.

For more information,

For further information, media representatives should contact Gary Jackson, Director, Regional Economic Research Institute at (239) 590-7319.

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