Tuscaloosa Metro Area Report

Alabama Business Confidence Index™

First Quarter 2024

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Tuscaloosa Outlook Remains Mildly Optimistic

Tuscaloosa business leaders are forecasting growth in the Q1 2024 with a mildly optimistic ABCI of 50.9. Though this is 0.6 points below last quarter’s index, it remains above the neutral 50, making it a mildly confident expansionary forecast. In the Q1 2024 survey, industry sales remained the highest component index despite it decreasing a few points from last quarter. Forecasts for industry hiring, profits, and the Alabama economy are also expansionary this quarter, though with much milder confidence. The U.S. economic outlook remained the metro’s lowest index for the ninth consecutive quarter.

First Quarter 2024 Outlook

Tuscaloosa Statewide
ABCI 50.9 49.3
Alabama Economy 51.8 51.7
US Economy 44.0 43.0
Industry Sales 56.0 51.4
Industry Profits 51.8 48.3
Industry Hiring 52.4 51.3
Industry Capital Expenditures 49.4 50.0

Index above 50 indicates positive outlook as compared to last quarter.
Index below 50 indicates negative outlook compared to last quarter.

Tuscaloosa Component Index Analysis

  • Alabama Economy: Tuscaloosa business leaders are forecasting improved conditions for the statewide economy this quarter after increasing 2.5 points from last quarter.
  • US Economy: The US economic outlook remained moderately contractionary this quarter at 44.0 after a 0.1-point increase from last quarter.
  • Industry Sales: At 56.0, the metro’s sales index was the highest component index for the second consecutive quarter, despite decreasing 3.5 points from last quarter’s strongly positive index.
  • Industry Profits: Business leaders in Tuscaloosa are forecasting increased profits this quarter with mild confidence. The index grew by 1.8 points to reach 51.8 in the Q1 2024 ABCI.
  • Industry Hiring: The hiring index decreased 1.0 point from last quarter to reach 52.4 as Tuscaloosa panelists continue to express mild confidence that hiring will increase in Q1 2024 compared to last quarter.
  • Industry Capital Expenditures: The Q1 2024 capital expenditures index decreased 3.3 points to become just barely contractionary at 49.4.

 

Tuscaloosa Response Breakdown

Historical Tuscaloosa ABCI™ and Industry Component Indexes

Historical Tuscaloosa ABCI™ and Economic Outlook Component Indexes

ABCI Tuscaloosa in Context

Tuscaloosa’s ABCI remained mildly expansionary for the second consecutive quarter in Q1 2024. This more optimistic mindset comes after metro business leaders forecasted contractionary conditions in four out of the five quarters from Q3 2022 to Q3 2023. Tuscaloosa’s outlook for the U.S. economy has remained consistently contractionary since Q1 2022, pulling the overall ABCI downward. Expectations for the industry component indexes have fluctuated but mostly remained positive in that time. The sales and hiring indexes only dipped into negative territory once since Q1 2022, while the capital expenditures and profits indexes have been slightly more volatile, ranging from mildly contractionary to moderately positive.

Forecasts by metro area ranged from mildly contractionary to mildly expansionary in Q1 2024. Birmingham–Hoover and Huntsville had mildly contractionary outlooks, with ABCIs of 47.4 and 48.3, respectively. Tuscaloosa had a mildly expansionary outlook of 50.9, pulled up by their moderately confident forecast for increased sales that was the highest index across any metro. Montgomery had the highest metro ABCI this quarter, with an index of 51.9 and mildly optimistic forecasts for five of their six component indexes. There was not enough participation to include Mobile’s outlook this quarter.

ABCI™ by Metro Area

Tuscaloosa ABCI™ Compared to Statewide ABCI™

 

The Center for Business and Economic Research would like to thank the Alabama business executives who completed the first quarter 2024 ABCI™ survey. This is the 89th consecutive quarter this report has been recorded, and it would not have been possible without your participation.
Be sure to log in during the March 1–15 survey window to record your opinions about economic prospects and industry performance looking ahead to the second quarter of 2024.

 

  &  Logo of the Birmingham Business Alliance

This report was produced in partnership between the Center for Business and Economic Research at the The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama.

Analysis provided by Susannah Robichaux, Socioeconomic Analyst, Center for Business and Economic Research, Culverhouse College of Business, The University of Alabama.

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